2017 Player comments summary

The number in parenthesis is his grade on my Test. I listed them in Test score order.

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Ivan Rodriguez (3.0) – Dan spent a lot of time on him. I might just put him at the top of my ballot and hope he wins this year, so I can stop worrying about why he lost 40 pounds and 40 ops+ points in less than six months.

Manny Ramirez (2.6) – Manny’s player-only profile (leave out the personality) is that of a solid, C-level Hall of Fame candidate. I imagine he is perceived as more of a B-level candidate.

Tom Glavine (2.3) – I think Glavine’s best historical comp is probably Whitey Ford. Glavine was a poor man’s Warren Spahn or a rich man’s Eddie Plank, and the four of them were similar enough in style, handedness and success that they might be seen as a knot, if not a family. Are they the Mount Rushmore of the Crafty Lefty nation? It would seem strange to leave Tommy John off the hill.

Vladimir Guerrero (2.2) – Here’s a link to his Test.

Curt Schilling (2.2) – Schilling’s closest historical comp is either John Smoltz, Don Drysdale, or Rudy Guliani.

John Smoltz (2.2) – He might be Schilling’s main competition for the pitcher slot on the non-Yankee postseason all-impact team, except he spread his goodness around, rather than stuffing most of it into one bloody sock.

Craig Biggio (2.1) – He won four gold gloves, played in eight consecutive all-star games, and lasted long enough to put himself way up most of the counting lists.

Sammy Sosa (2.0) – Without the juice, he was Chuck Klein or Jose Canseco. Even with the juice, he didn’t dominate. He didn’t lead the league in homers in any of his 60 homer seasons.

Mike Mussina (1.7) – I rank the big four pitchers on the ballot Glavine-Schilling-Smoltz-Mussina in an accomplishment-based discussion, but I would rank them almost the exact opposite way in a value-based discussion. They are in a knot on my Test, all mid- to high- level C candidates.

Gary Sheffield (1.7) – The Dick Allen of the PED era. As he matured he seemed to exorcize his demons, but in the end he was still just as sour as he had always been. It was like he went from being a brat to a prick to a curmudgeon. The whole time we kept expecting him to go postal, but he never really did. I’m sure he has a very nice lawn now, which we can all get the *%$# off of.

Larry Walker (1.4) – Walker is another player who inspires memories of reading Chuck Klein’s statistics in an encyclopedia. Klein and Walker’s teammate Todd Helton may be the only serious Hall of Fame candidates with more air in their statistical profiles.

Kenny Lofton (1.3) – Lofton may have been the most prolific second-wife center fielder of all time. He was the Liz Taylor of quickie baseball marriages and (mostly) amiable divorces. He returned to Cleveland as a free agent twice, which I think makes the Indians Richard Burton. The Atlanta Braves, who acquired him in a trade earlier in his career, lost him back to Cleveland the following year. That makes Lofton Eddie Fisher, and the Braves Debbie Reynolds.

Rafael Palmeiro (1.3)
– Will Clark beats Palmiero, based on my TBA formula, 5.77 to 5.68 runs per game. That’s before any adjustments are made for park context, league context, or pharmaceutical context. That means Clark, without any benefit of the doubt about PEDs or giving him any extra credit for doing most of his best hitting before the high-offense 1990s, was still a (slightly) more effective offensive player than Rafael Palmiero.

Kevin Brown (1.2) – We had a long, spirited discussion about his strikeout rates during last year’s GOR election. Here is a link to last year’s GOR if you want to read up on all that.

Bernie Williams (1.2) – He was a good first-wife centerfielder, a rarity in the modern game. The Yankees spent several years trying to make Melky Cabrera a good first wife, but they eventually gave up. Cabrera then moved to Kansas City, got a boob job, and eventually married the Blue Jays despite going to jail for a short time. I may have him mixed up with a reality television show wife.

Matt Williams (1.1) –
He’s the meat in the middle of the Darrell Evans/Graig Nettles third base sandwich. If there was only one he would be a fairly obvious choice, but there are three of them. Maybe they need to have one of those Highlander things, run around and chop off everyone’s head until there is only one, then make him give a speech and hang himself in the ground floor atrium.

Jim Edmonds (1.1) – WAR occasionally spits out a weird number when all the little, normally self-cancelling wrinkles line up in the same direction for a player. Edmonds, like Larry Walker, ranks significantly higher on the WAR list than on other lists.

Jeff Kent (1.1)
– It won’t bother me if Kent makes the Hall of Fame, but Bobby Grich and Lou Whitaker might have a beef if he gets in before they do.

David Cone (1.0) – I actually think Cone will develop some momentum as a Hall candidate once he’s eligible for the old timers committees.

Carlos Delgado (1.0) – Delgado is like Bobby Bonds and Chuck Klein … Jack Morris, Rick Reuschel and Don Drysdale. The contrarian candidates. If they are in they suck. If they are out they are underrated. They are the line between C and D on the Hall candidate scale.

Jorge Posada (0.9) – Posada was one of the most consistent hitters you could ask for, hitting between .268 and .281 eight times in his 12 year prime period, hitting 20 homers and driving in 80 runs in eight different seasons. Dave Fleming took some time to explain his take in the articles section.

Dave Stieb (0.9)
– He belongs on the Graig Nettles/Rick Reuschel all-star team of players who nobody can remember what order to put the vowels in his name.

John Olerud (0.8)
– He never looked gassed or sweaty. He was as smooth as melted caramel, trickling down a warm spoon. He always reminded me of that cartoon turtle, what was his name? He was always saying, “hello Day- vee …”

Trevor Hoffman (0.6) – I don’t think he meets the established standards for a BBWAA-worthy Hall of Famer. He never pitched even 90 innings in a season, and he only had a couple of sub-2 eras. His career era+ was 141. For comparison, Mariano Rivera’s career era+ was 205.

Lee Smith (0.6)
– Electing one-inning closers is a little like electing kickers to the NFL Hall of Fame. A few should be in, but only a few.

Julio Franco (0.5)
– He’s probably still playing out there somewhere, his wiggling bat barrel winking at the mound while he waits for his pitch.

Billy Wagner (0.4)
– If Wagner had pitched well in his big-game situations, he might be the anti-Hoffman candidate, but he didn’t. He melted under pressure like a wax candle in a microwave oven. He was more toothless than a meth-addicted hockey player. He blew up like a bottle rocket stuck in a lump of C4 and shot out of a cannon into a pile of gunpowder. He sucked worse than a hillbilly girl with a gay brother. I’m exaggerating, but how many Hall of Famers have double figure postseason eras?

Willie McGee (0.4) – (from 2016) He has no chance in hell at the moment, but there were years in the GOR where he would have been a contender.

Edgar Renteria (0.4)
– I think his long term chances will come down to how his defense is perceived. His offensive career could be best described as “not disqualifying.”

Dontrelle Willis (0.4) –
The .4 is all about the fame, ‘bout the fame, no numbers. Has anyone else noticed that he sits on the Fox Sports set like he used to stand on the mound, with his back to everyone? He never really turns his shoulders, either, to face who he’s talking to. He just turns his head and throws his words out like he’s curving them into his listener’s ears.

Jason Varitek (0.3)
– Varitek and Derek Lowe combined for just under 60 career WAR. Heathcliff Slocumb’s WAR in 1997, when the M’s traded for him, was -0.6. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Tony Phillips (0.3)
– If it was possible to put together an all-time great multipositional all star team, who would be on it?

Garret Anderson (0.1)
– Anderson is unlikely to make the Hall of Fame, but his counting numbers mean he’ll be jumping out of encyclopedias as long as baseball retains its basic statistical shape.

Mike Cameron (0.1) – Guys like Cameron and Lofton, Johnny Damon … they might lose a step or two, but they can still play out there for winning teams well into their thirties. They are the centerfield version of a great second wife. They don’t wear white and nobody throws a big wedding for ‘em, but they can keep you awfully warm out there in center field when you get tired of all the young “prospects” who don’t know what they are doing.

Magglio Ordonez (0.1) – Magglio was probably a decent match for Ray Boone or Bob Johnson, somebody like that, once you let the air out of his numbers – and frankly I might be overstating his contribution. There is a lot of air in his numbers.

Jose Rijo (0.1) – Rijo was a Reader’s Digest-condensed Hall of Famer. His career World Series era was 0.59, and he won the 1990 World Series MVP. His era+ between 1988 and 1994 was 147, based on an era of 2.63. He was 87-53 during his prime with the Reds, starting 192 games in 7 years. He was among the leaders in k/9 every year, and led the league in strikeouts the one year he pitched a full schedule.

Tim Wakefield (0.1) – Joe Niekro is the only knuckleballer on his full-career comps list, and only Charlie Hough landed on his age-44 comps list. I would have expected a few more on the age-44 list, given how few pitchers last to that age.

Javier Vazquez (0.1) – As a pitcher he was the opposite of Mike Torrez, but somehow they wound up in the same basic place. Torrez finished at 185-160, 4.07, Vazquez 165-160, 4.22. It was like two rabbits lit out from the briar patch in different directions, tore up completely different gardens, and wound up in the same fox’s stomach.

Pat Burrell (0.0) – Where would he rank all time? I think he’s in the top thousand, maybe even the top 700-800, but I can’t really say for sure.

Orlando Cabrera (0.0) – He ain’t making the Hall, but he was a shortstop who made it to 2000 hits so I think he deserves to be on the ballot.

J.D. Drew (0.0)
– I think Drew, among all the players whose reputations were stained by the greed of Scott Boras, was the most profoundly stained.

Derrek Lee (0.0) – Derrek’s father Leon and his uncle Leron both played in Japan for many years, and Derrek spent a lot of his childhood over there. He still travels extensively, teaching baseball skills to children all over the world.

Rich Harden (0.0) – From 2005-2008 he was 25-9 in 348 innings, with 378 strikeouts and a 2.56 era (an era+ of 171). He was one of the all-time great table-game pitchers, but he was never healthy enough to put up the numbers on the field that he put up on the table.

Melvin Mora (0.0)
– If the pool is limited to full seasons only, Mora’s 2004 might make some fluke-season lists. He was almost as good in 2003, but in a partial season. His ops+ was 155 in 2004, 143 in 2003 – but only 117 in 2005, his second best full season.

Matt Stairs (0.0) – He looked like a Keebler elf who spent too much time in the sample room, or that guy on your softball team who everybody calls “Spanky.” Put him on the team with Johnny Bench, Phil Roof, and Ed “Carpet” Burns.

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