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Thursday, February 12, 2009

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I posted this previously, but Todd Zolecki has a new blog home:

http://zozone.mlblogs.com/

As a severely addicted Beerleaguer who feels the need to check frequently on my phone, the "Jump to Latest Comments" links are a huge help. If we can get that on every thread, my index finger would be much obliged.

I never saw Hank Aaron play, or Babe Ruth. But, I think Babe Ruth was the greatest home run hitter of all time. He, like, invented home runs.

Aaron played against tougher INTEGRATED competition. That's why I would give him an edge over the Babe.

Not to bash either whatsoever.

I would break it down this way IMHO

Greatest HR hitter of all time - Henry Aaron
Greatest hitter of all time - Ted Williams
Greatest all around player of all time - Willie Mays

Thoughts?

Greatest all around player of all time - Chase Utley

NEPP: Agree on all three.

If you're going to use the color barrier as a prerequisite, I guess that disqualifies Josh Gibson. And Sadahuru Oh. I don't know that I can categorize those players that neatly. They're all legends to me, not known quantities. Still, statistically, Mike Schmidt was closer to Hank Aaron as a HR hitter. To me, the greatest HR hitter is someone who hit them by teh bushel. He was consistent and he had longevity, but, in his 20+ years, he was infrequently the most prodigious HR hitter. Aaron is more in the category of Williams, albeit not quite as spectacular. Phenomenal hitter, period.

NEPP: you are correct on all 3. Good job.

Now. Can we do one for the 1980 on but excluding any roids players thus far.

Still think Oscar Charleston might have been better all around even than Mays; just as Gibson might have been the greatest HR hitter. But there's no data to support any claims such as those. So with those qualifiers, sure.

It still ignores the context question. You're assuming the era from 1935 - 1975. The game is played differently now. And it was played differently before then. Not all the differences had to do with segregation.

NEPP -- in all deference to Aaron, I might be more inclined to put him in the best hitter argument, but that will go to Ted Williams. He was the epitome of consistency. Kind of like Pujols (although Pujols numbers trend higher in terms of OPS+)

For my money the greatest HR of all time is Babe Ruth. His numbers crush his peers. Regardless of the "integration", I highly doubt his numbers would change much. His separation from the pack might be smaller, but he likely would have still put up the same numbers. He would have more competition from integrated hitters, but the influx of pitching just wasn't the same during the Aaron's prime. Gibson, Jenkins, and Marachel are the exceptions of course.

Starting out as a pitcher early in his career (as well as being the deadball era) reduced his homer total. He had 10 seasons with an OPS+ of over 200. Williams had his prime taken away that cost him tons of production so he's right there. But Ruth might have hit 800 homers. People often ignore his batting average. The guy hit over .370 6 times!


Some of you know my We Should Be GM's Phils site, but I also have a general MLB site, which is mostly comedy driven, but it's good for a laugh- More Hardball @ http://morehardball.blogspot.com

I have my own site going which is basically a Penn State football and Phillies blog rolled in one. It is called Nittanydelphia (http://nittanydelphia.blogspot.com)

Sorry if this shows up again but I don't think my previous comment worked. My site , Nittanydelphia (http://nittanydelphia.blogspot.com) is a joint Penn State football and Phillies blog (my two favorite teams).

Remember when Eric Milton took a no hitter into the 8th or 9th with the phils? It got broken up by a lazy fly ball into centerfield that Kenny Lofton didn't dive for.

My buddy and I were at that Milton near no hitter. After the 8th inning, my buddy proclaimed that if the unthinkable happened, he would immediately buy an authentic Todd Pratt jersey. Shortly there after, Glanville made a terrible play on a lazy fly ball and ended the no-hit bid. I believe they were playing the Cubs that night and the Cubs actually came back to tie the game in the top of the 9th after being down 3-0. The Phils eventually won the game on a Pat Burrell opposite field double, but it was one of the most unsatisfying Phillies victories I have ever been a part of.

In Kenny Lofton's defense...he's not a team player.

Had Ted Williams not given essentially 5 full seasons to WWII and Korea, he'd have likely ended up with over 700 HRs (assuming he averaged around 40 a year (under his prime numbers) during those years. Had that happened, I would probably give him the edge over Aaron.

NEPP, I would generally agree with thise three, but with the caveat that it is very difficult to determine who "the greatest" was at any particular aspect of the game.

For instance, Aaron had more HR than Ruth, but did it in more AB. He hit one every 16.37 AB while Ruth did it every 11.67 AB.

Williams lost three prime years during WWII and most of 2 seasons during the Korea War.
His LIFETIME OPS was 1.116.

Willie Mays also lost time to the military during prime years. Playing only 34 games in 1952 and losing all of the 1953 season. At the rate he hit HR, it's possible he could have been the first to break Ruth's record had he not lost the time.

But, as mike c points out, his first 5 seasons were played during the deadball era.

However, when looking at these HR totals, park factors play a role. Mays played at Candlestick for the majority of his career, and the wind coming off the Bay killed fly ball. I (and I'm dating myself) personally remember seeing a game (remember the Saturday game of the week?) where Mays hit a HR, but 2 FB he hit were caught on the warning track in LF. The flags were standing almost straight up with the wind blowing in. How many more would he have hit playing home games in a different ballpark?

Ruth played in "The House that Ruth Built". It was a ballpark built for a hitter like Ruth, where the RF line was less than 300 ft when he played.

Aaron played a lot of games in Atlanta, at a higher elevation than the sea level parks in which Ruth and Mays played. He also started out in Milwaukee, which is slightly higher.

Williams played in Fenway, which has a deep area in right-center field.


So, as you can see, it's very hard to say who "the greatest" was at anything.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

BTW, JW, I agree with the German fan above: JUMP TO LATEST COMMENTS is good!

That guy is right- Babe Ruth invented home runs.

Its fun to debate though...which I why I love baseball so much.

It was definitely Glanville. I bet he wishes it was Kenny Lofton. There wasn't anything he could do about it. Sunday day game if I recall.

Ironically, Ted Williams called Rogers Hornsby the greatest hitter of all time. And statistically he might not be far off. Rogers was a beast at the plate...by far the best middle infielder to ever swing the bat.

Yeah, I don't have an excuse for Glanville...the Lofton one was much easier to explain.

Since there's nothing going on, I'll repost something I posted near the end of one of th threads yesterday. Still waiting for BA and BP spring prospect reports.

"Sickels' prospect book is just out and he ranks Carrasco, Michael Taylor and Travis d'Arnaud ahead of Donald and Marson.

He raises same questions about Donald's range at SS, as others have. Thinks 2B may be his best position. I think he should be moved to 3B, where he's got the arm to play it and the need is more acute.

He sees Marson as a .250-.270 hitter with little power and OK defense, which would make him a stopgap starter or backup on most teams.

He ranks Carrasco as 24th best pitching prospect in baseball, the only Phillie to make the Top 50 pitchers or Top 50 hitters.

Interesting fact: He ranks the never-mentioned Jason Knapp as a better prospect than the oft-mentioned Kyle Drabek.

Alot of scouts seem down on Marson of late...

Donald would probably be a good 2B (better than a 3B) but we have that Utley guy there so we might as well try to get Donald some ABs as a 3B instead. Granted his bat plays alot better as a middle infielder but we dont need anymore middle infielders so why not 3B?

I wouldn't be surprised if D'Arnaud has a better career than Marson.

NEPP: Donald doesn't even need to hit many HRs to be a huge upgrade at 3B. Reading isn't a power paradise, but Donald hit 19 doubles, 4 triples and 14 HRs in 362 ABs for an SLG of .497. Heck he could SLG .430 in the big leagues and be a giant improvement.

I understand the need to work him hard at 2B, though, since he's a better bet than Marcus Giles to fill in should Uts not be ready to go for the first couple weeks.

****NEPP: Donald doesn't even need to hit many HRs to be a huge upgrade at 3B. Reading isn't a power paradise, but Donald hit 19 doubles, 4 triples and 14 HRs in 362 ABs for an SLG of .497. Heck he could SLG .430 in the big leagues and be a giant improvement.****

I agree completely. To clarify, I think that Donald should be sharing time at 3B by the end of the season. He may not be David Wright or AROD but his bat can be at least league average at 3B. Ironically, a few months ago I broke down his HR/AB and his numbers were pretty similar to Utley's at the same Age and level...Utley was a shade better but it wasn't overwhelming.

Disclaimer: I am not saying Donald is another Utley.

Re: D'Arnaud, Sickels says, "A +21 OPS from a good defensive ctacher in the pitching-oriented NY-Penn League is a fine marker. We'll need to see if he can maintain that (at the next level) but if he does, he will be considered one of the best catching prospects in the game a year from now."

Lakewood should be his next stop and he may be worth a look-see for fans within driving distance.

As AWH mentioned, you have to look at those HR per AB numbers. Every 11.7 ABs for Ruth and 16.4 for Aaron. Very big spread.

Ruth was definitely done as a great HR hitter when he stopped playing, so I'm not going to make the argument that Ruth could have hit 900 if he kept going, but when was playing, he was by far the best HR hitter of all time. I understand Aaron should get credit for his longevity, but not as much to call him a better HR hitter than Ruth.

Hank Aaron led his own league in HR 4 times out of 23 years.

Ruth led 12 out of his 22.

While my blog isn't about baseball, and when it is it's about the Mets (gasp!), judging from the sidebar of what he's listening to, I know JW and I share a passion for good music. So I'm submitting my blog at tympanogram.wordpress.com for your listening needs.

Happy Pitchers and Catchers, y'all.

I got to see D'Arnaud in person a few times last year and he's very good. He had a great presence behind the plate and despite his somewhat high error & passed ball totals, he saved several wild pitches/balls in the dirt at the games I was at. His arm is pretty decent too with a nice quick release.

Speaking of good markers, I was looking at Michael Taylor's numbers which were conveniently split almost equally between A ball and high A last year. The move up saw a decline in his walk rate and his AVG, but, interestingly, no change in his K rate or his SLG. That means he made as much contact at the higher level than he did before. He should absolutely start the season at Reading this year to see if that continues to hold up.

I agree on Taylor...besides, agewise he needs to be at AA.

thephaithful: A lot of these discussions are based on varying definitions of what "the greatest HR hitter" means. If it means HRs per AB, as you say, Ruth gets the edge over Aaron BUT he finishes behind Mark McGwire. So by your definition Mark McGwire is the greatest HR hitter of all time.

NEPP is using HR total as his marker, which would make Aaron number 2 to Barry Bonds.

Aaron's numbers have to be looked at in comparison to the era he played...the 1960's/early 70's were not exactly a offensive era...the fact that he put up the numbers he did make them more impressive than they otherwise might look when comparing them to a modern day slugger. For example, Mike Schmidt hitting 48 HRs in 1980 is very impressive...its more impressive when you realize that the #2 guy (in the NL) had all of 35 HRs that year and that only 3 guys including Schmidt even had over 30 HRs total (In the NL). Its the same with Aaron. His 40 HR seasons would be the same as a 50 HR season today. So while he may never have had that one awesome year (47 was his highest total), he consistently was at or near the top in the league at HRs for much of his career.

I'm using both as markers, not just 1. thats why i think Ruth's combination of hr/ab and total hr as his claim to the best.

I understand Aaron played in the deadball era, but to only lead your league 4 times in your whole career is definitely a dent in his armor.

And keep it in respect to time periods.. Ruth hitting 59HR in 1921 is really like him hitting about 240HRs, snce he alone made up for 12% of the entire ALs output.

Here's a fun discussion. I was looking over 2008 rosters last year and I believe the Phillies had as many potential future Hall of Famers (4) as any other team (even the Yankees!).

Let's look closer at the candidates' chances, ranked in order of probability.

1. Chase Utley - As long as he stays healthy and as productive as he has been the past few years, he should have be a lock, as he plays a premium defensive position (at which he has become a very good defender), has a .900+ career OPS, a WS ring, and will finish with many top-10 MVP finishes.

2. Jimmy Rollins - sure, he had an off-year, but still managed to be the best defensive NL shortstop and snag a Gold Glove. Combine his stellar defense with an MVP award, a WS ring, the leader and engine of the team, plus his very good career averages (109 runs, 40 doubles, 12 triples, 16 home runs, 38 steals per 162 games), and he has a very good chance of making it as long as he puts in at least 4-5 more good years. His OBP is increasing, and he's striking out very little now, so it's very likely that he will continue to excel.

3. Ryan Howard - given the newest steroid news (especially implicating A-Rod), and Howard's numbers keeping looking more impressive. Assuming he and Griffey are clean, they are the two best power hitters since Henry Aaron. Once you take out the steroid-inflated players totals, did you know that Howard has the most HR by a NL in a single season!
And how many non-steroid players can claim 3 years of 135+ RBI, let alone 3 in a row!
Add an MVP, a 2nd place and 5th place MVP finish, a ROY, and a WS ring, and this guy is well on his way if he can stay in shape.

4.Cole Hamels - two major questions here - can he stay healthy, and can he get more run support? If yes to both, he'll make it in with no problems.

At the age of 24, he has a NLCS and WS MVP, and obviously a WS ring.

Needs to pick up more wins (better run support), but a Cy Young or two would not be surprising in the next few years.

Hey JW: www.thephaithful.com

Nothing on there yet but I plan to post my expected RBI research there soon, along with history logs of World Series ticket future prices from sits like yoonew.com

Thanks.

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20090213_Jim_Salisbury__Jim_Salisbury__Phillies__Gillick_advising_everybody.html

"It's funny," he said, "everyone thought we were going to be all about offense, but pitching and defense won it for us. I think our hitting will be better this year."

Only way the offense is better is if Howard and JRoll more closely mirror their '07 numbers than their '08 numbers. Otherwise I don't konw where the Phils are going to get a boost offensively.

Was sitting behind home plate at the Milton near no-hitter. Glanville got booed, I believe, when he came up to the plate in the bottom of the 9th. Kind of epitomized that era of Phillies baseball- we all just knew somehow he'd blow the no-hitter.

Interesting note from that game: Chase Utley, in his first season as a semi-regular (played in 94 games), went 2-3 with a home run, double and sac fly. The homer came off Mark Prior.

Chase Utley - IF he stays healthy and IF he keeps putting up great numbers well into his 30s, it might happen. Maybe 20-30%

Jimmy Rollins - The MVP helps as do the 2 GG...still, he's gonna have to go on a string of GG wins to be considered as his bat won't get him in. Its a long shot...Maybe 10%

Ryan Howard - He's gonna have to be very productive into his mid-to-late 30s to be considered. He's fairly one-dimensional so he need to hit certain benchmarks and keep a crystal clean reputation on PEDs...Maybe 10-20%.

Cole Hamels - Maybe...its pretty impossible to project a HoF when he's only 25 and going into his 4th season. If he stays healthy and if he continues to have a good prime, picks up a couple CY awards, etc etc...it might happen. Maybe 5%.

If I had to bet money on 1 of the 4 making the Hall, I'd probably go with Utley but all 4 are long-shots at this point.

The Yankees have several sure-thing HoFs if only because most of their players are older.

Jeter's a shoe-in
Mussina will probably get in
ARod would have been a sure thing and may still make it despite the 'Roids.
Mo Rivera is a shoe-in.
Posada is a long shot (Personally I dont think he's a HoF)

But that's still 4 almost guaranteed HoFs they have.

I would think Ruiz could be better offensively than he was last year.

T-Mac: Possible, but I'd still take the under on all of them. Utley probably has the best shot, but he's going into his age 30 season. He's going to have to have a Jeff Kent-like decade in his 30's. He needs probably at least 6 more seasons like he's had to be a legit HOF candidate, and while that's certainly possible, especially given Utley's work ethic and drive, I wouldn't say it's probable either.

J-Roll is unfortunately playing in an era with Jeter and A-Rod (and eventually Jose Reyes) who will be known as the best SS. J-Roll has the MVP, but I think the most likely outcome is that he stays for a while on the ballot but never gets the support needed to be elected, mostly because of his peers and possibly because of the low OBP (by the time he's up for election that will be a stronger criteria). For the record, I'm not saying Reyes is better than Rollins right now, but the stuff that Reyes has done between age 22 and 25 makes him a more likely HOFer.

Howard- I won't get into it too much here, but suffice it to say I don't see his being a long-lasting career, and he just got started too late (no fault of his own) for the numbers to be good enough to support just a HR guy.

Hamels- Way too early.

I think your analysis is pretty good though, and I love the optimism.

NEPP - I would actually argue that JRoll has the greatest chance of any player right now on the Phils given their performance to date.

He has an MVP award, a couple of All-Star appearances, and now a few GG.

The big thing for him is can he continue to play at a high a high level offensively the next several seasons (until at least 34 or 35). If JRoll put up power numbers like he did in '08, then he probably isn't a HOF. If he can get back to '07 HR and RBI numbers for the next 2 or 3 season then he has a much better chance.

Another thing that wouldn't hurt JRoll is a few more GG. Now that he has finally broken through with the voters, I am willing to bet he snags at least 1 or 2 more in his career. GG are probably one of the most bogus HOF criteria but they mean something with the voters. 4 or 5 GG would go a long way with voters to prove the JRoll was a strong offensive and defensive player during his prime.

Jeff Kent's career profile almost SCREAMS steroids...not many guys are average till Age 30 and then suddenly explode into a power hitting 2B for 10 years...during the height of the juiced era...just sayin'.

Had JRoll won the GG in 05 and 06 (when he probably should have over Vizquel's reputation), then he'd have a much stronger case. However, odds are, unless he has a nice string of GGs (say 5 more in a row) he's gonna be sitting next to Alan Trammell on the outside looking in. Yes, GGs are brutally overrated and not even very accurate in some cases (read Abreu or Jeter) but a good number of HoF voters use benchmarks like that...How the hell did Jeter win 3 GGs. He's never ever ever been the best defensive SS in the AL...EVER!

BB - Yeah but in a meaningful way. Maybe Ruiz hits .240-.250 but I don't see him putting up a meaningful increase in power numbers. Pretty clear that Ruiz is a limited offensive catcher whose future in the next year or two is that of the classic defensive backup catcher.

For JRoll to have a HOF real shot - it is all about the HR and RBI numbers. If he puts up numbers like '07 the next 3 years (say 20-25 HRs, 80+ RBI), then he has a real shot with the voters even though he might give up a bit in terms of OBP.

Jack - That's right, I forgot he came up and got booed heavily. He then proceeded to smack a double to the left center field fence and score on burrell's double if I remember correctly.

I think for JRoll that his only real shot is as a defensive SS with decent (but not great offensive numbers). THere are plenty of those in the HoF and he wouldn't be out of place there. He needs to stay at the top of hte pile defensively for say 4-5 more years and he's got a 50/50 shot of getting in at that piont. If he can continue to get hits (he's at 1450ish right now) and get that up to the 2600-2800 mark, that will greatly help his chances too.

Trammell though was really done as an everyday player for the most part by the time he was 32 (1990) since he couldn't stay healthy enough to stay on the field. He might have hung for several more years and had some productive years but not a full-time starter.

If JRoll follows the same path, then he isn't going to be a HOF either. He needs to put up solid numbers until 34 or 35 while being a full-time starter.

I agree. If he has 6 more good offensive years (190 hits) then he'll be at (does the math) 2,601 hits...then he's within shooting range of HoF numbers.

Rollins' top comparable through age 29 is Sandberg, who had 991 hits, 143 HR, 94 SB, and 4 AS appearances after age 30. He also had 9 GG, but none after '91.

Rollins will need 6-8 great seasons to be in consideration. He'll be helped by more WFC.

He also needs to not retire the same year as a lot of other fine offensive SS's.

You can't use Sandberg as a comparison as he was a 2B...you need to compare him to other HoF SS

Not to beat the issue to death, but Ruth's HR numbers in '20, '21, '27 and '28 are incredible and I give him the title because those seasons remain largely unparalelled in context. I didn't see Aaron play but, I obviously need to credit the sheer number of HRs, especially his production during the '60s which was a golden age for pitchers. If you look at the rate of home runs, rather than the sheer number, he's obviously not Ruth (or McGwire). But, if you look at his numbers on the downside of his career, in '71 and '73, when his ABs went down, he showed he could hit HRs at a Ruthian rate, if that's what his team needed from him.

Harry on the DL?

Legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas will miss most of spring training after undergoing surgery earlier this week, sources told the Daily News yesterday.

The surgery, unrelated to the detached retina that sidelined him for part of last season, is not expected to cause him to miss Opening Day.

Kalas could return to the broadcast booth late in spring training. In the meantime, television broadcaster Tom McCarthy will pitch in on radio.

FWIW, Baseball Reference tracks players using Bill James' Hall of Fame monitor formula, in which 100 gives a decent chance of election. Current scores for the Phillies 4: Rollins 64, Utley 24, Howard 22, Hamels 16.

Rollins has the benefit of his leadership as well, which is way his cause will be esp. helped by more team success. He also will run up counting figures, like SB, R, and GG.

I think the ARod news helps guys like Rollins. If you sort the SS since '96 by OPS/OPS+, you see guys like ARod and Nomar at the top of the list. Rollins is the Philadelphia Jeter (waited longer for success, looser personality, slightly worse numbers, better defender, more speed). I think the writers recognize the role Rollins plays on the team. But if he hits .265/.335/.425 over the next 6 years and the Phils don't win again, I don't see it happening.

Anyone see the write up on the Utley play today in the Inky? I thought it was an interesting read: Utley's Defining Play
It's probably pretty standard stuff for those who've played the game, but for someone like me who's still learning, I thought it was insightful (even if angry, old curmudgeon Frank Fitzpatrick did assist in writing the article).

NEPP - Sure you can. It's only a comparison and can be imperfect. They're both middle infielders, so not perfect, but had very similar careers up to this point.

****Current scores for the Phillies 4: Rollins 64, Utley 24, Howard 22, Hamels 16.****

I'd love it if Rollins makes it...He just needs to stay healthy and continue be amazing with the glove. Oh, on furhter review of their comparative defensive ratings for 05 & 06, Vizquel probably deserved the GG over Jimmy...my bad.

I hope Jimmy has a comparable Age 30 season this year then (Sandberg posted a ridiclous 40 HR, 100 RBI, .306 AVG, 140 OPS+ at Age 30)

Here's the last 3 SS that were voted in to the HoF

Ozzie Smith
Robin Yount
Cal Ripken

and you have to figure Jeter will likely be in by the time Jimmy comes up for a vote.

Jimmy doesn't really fit the mold of any of those guys.

Yesterday (or Wednesday) someone posted on here asking about the Opening Day lottery for season ticket holders. It's still going on as I got notified this morning that I could purchase two tickets. (I did, by the way.) So it's still possible.

On Aaron's HR rate and totals, they shot up when the Braves moved to Atlanta, where Fulton County Stadium was known as the "Launching Pad." Eddie Matthews, IIRC, outhomered Aaron when both played in Milwaukee.

Honorable mention for best all around hitter ever: Stan Musial.

Ruth vs. Aaron debates are a microcosm of why baseball is the greatest sport in the world.

Winning another World Series title would go a long way to helping JRoll's shot at the HOF too especially if the Phils do somehow manage to repeat or win again in 2010.

Yeah. More Tom McCarthy on the radio during spring training. Another reason to not listen to spring training games as much.

Definitely. Another WS victory would make Jimmy the captain of a "quasi-dynasty". Jimmy is the unoffical captain of the team anyway. Jimmy needs to stick around though his Age 35 season at a similar level of production now, stay healthy and then hopefully toss in another 2 seasons of lesser performance (maybe at an easier defensive position like 3B) to add to his career totals in hits, doubles, SB etc. If he can do that and its honestly a HUGE if, then he'll have a legit chance at the Hall. If he gets close enough to 3000 hits, he'll get in. Once you get over 2800 hits, you're pretty much a lock for the Hall...Harold Baines is the only eligible player over that mark that hasn't made it.

MG: Utley should hit better than he did last year with a bum hip. I think he's a .320+ hitter not a .290 hitter. Ruiz can't possibly hit any worse than he did last year. Feliz will still be horrendous, and no one really projects to hit worse than they did last year, and Werth will be full time instead of Jenkins for half the year. I can't see them hitting any worse, and most likely will hit better. Oh, Ibanez will be a downgrade from Burrell, how much depends on I think how many situations he gets in where contact will be more beneficial than a home run.

Werth hitting fulltime could expose his weaknesses against RHP...

Utley could have issues with his hip

Howard could continue his slide

etc etc etc

That's the negative view of things BTW.

"how much depends on I think how many situations he gets in where contact will be more beneficial than a home run."

This came out incredibly wrong, of course a home run is more beneficial. I don't know where I was going with this, I think I confused myself while typing, please disregard.

NEPP: Ya i listed mainly the positive things.

****NEPP: Ya i listed mainly the positive things.****

I was trying to head off the inevitable rebuttals. I tend to like your prediction a bit better. I'd really like to see Utley have a full year of healthy play in his prime...so he can put up one of those ridiculous 30-40 HR, .335 avg, 120 RBI years that will show everyone that he is not just a great 2B but one of the top players in the game. Just one of those ridiculous years where every bounce goes his way (See Jroll's MVP year)

"I understand Aaron played in the deadball era"

Phaithful, it wasn't a "dead ball" era, but pitching was much more dominant. One of the reasons is that the pitcher's mound was 5 inches higher. MLB lowered the mound in order to generate more offense.

To wit, would Bonds, McGuire, ARoid, Howard, etc. hit the same number of HRs if pitchers were still throwing off of a 15 inch mound?

The way I look at HR totals, particularly single season totals, is to look at the HR/game in the league that year. Take a look at that and you'll really get an idea of what a monster season Schmidt had in 1980.
.
.
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"Only way the offense is better is if Howard and JRoll more closely mirror their '07 numbers than their '08 numbers. Otherwise I don't konw where the Phils are going to get a boost offensively."

MG, I could argue that the many of the Phillies had slightly doen years last season. Utley because of injury, Feliz because of injury, Rollins because of injury, and Chooch because he was just plaid horrible until the postseason.

OTOH, Werth stepped up and so did Vic, though Vic spent some time resting his bad calf.

I'm not counting Ibanez because he wasn't here last year.

My point is that, IMO, all of them, except Werth and Vic, could see some incremental improvement. If that happens, the offense will be better for that reason alone.

Speaking of Ibanez, did anyone see Scott Lauber's blog the last couple of days?

Gillick laid to rest the idea that the Phils did not want Burrell back. He basically said they approached PB about an extension, but when they found out waht he was looking for, particularly in the number of years, that Amaro didn't even make an offer.

He said they did ask, though.

Bold Prediction for 2009 - Shane Victorino makes the AS team.

If Shane is an AS in 2009, then I predict WFC2.
On the Phils, I see Shane as the least likely non-pitcher to match/exceed his 2008 numbers.

Covers all four main Philly sports but during the summer is very Phillie-centric:
http://allthingsphillysports.com

Oh, forgot to add that they approached PB during the season last year.

I'm sure all you comcast subscribers already know this, but all the world series games are on "On Demand". Anyway yesterday I saw this and had 15 minutes to spare so I decided to check out Jenkins double to start part 2 of game 5, and fast forwarded and stopped up till Feliz game winning single. If I am bored this weekend I probably will watch some of the other games too.

I'm heading down to ST in a few weeks with the family. Anyone have any recommendations for other bb related activity -- aside from games and visiting Lenny's for breakfast, of course?

Can we trade Todd McCarthy for Eric Milton? What is the word on that motherfucekr's contract? One more year of him, or what? If there ever is a "BeerLeaguer" night at the Zen, can you guys carry an anti-TMac sign for us out-of-towners?

@Alby -- the james scores are much lower than JROLL for Utley, HOward, and Hamels mostly because of amount of playing time. You just need to be around long to start accumulating stats.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/leader_glossary.shtml#hof_monitor

It's an interesting proposal. And noting how championship factors... even division championships. It seems like the pitching monitor is harder to reach in this era.

As for the Milton-almost. I was at that game (and coming a year after the Millwood no-hitter it was one of those I can't believe I'm going to see another one.) Glanville did miss judge the ball off the bat, he made a step backwards before heading forward on the ball. It was one those bloop shots that glanville, if going hard would have probably had to dive for it. He was devastated after the game. One of the games all time good guys. And if MLBPA wanted to replace Fehr, he'd be my candidate.

What made that worse was that Milton sort of exploded after that trying to hold onto a 2-0 lead. (Phils never make it easy). The cubs end up tying the game. And some guy named Pat Burrell knocked in the walk-off run. I heard he wasn't clutch.

To continue the HOF discussion.

1. Utley - in four full seasons, he is a 3 time AS, 3 time Silver Slugger, and finished in the top 15 in MVP voting each year. Not to mention the Phillies made the playoffs in half those years and the WS title.

Utley is clearly the best ML 2B during this time, and it's not even close.

2. Rollins - has played 8 full seasons.
He has 1 MVP (4 top 30 finishes), 2 GG, 4 AS, 1 SS, and has finished in the top 3 in runs 4 times.

Here's the question - how many SS whose careers largely took place from the 1990 - 2015 will get into the HOF?

1. Jeter (lock)
2. H. Ramirez (too early to tell, and not a good defensive SS
3. J. Reyes (good chance, but not as good defensively as Rollins)
4. Tejeda (does anyone see this happening?)
5. Garciaparra - too injured
6. Rollins
7. Vizquel (good chance on GG defense)

Can anyone name anyone else?

I was at the Mulholland no-hitter. So I can check "attend a No-hitter" off my things to do list.

I'm trying to figure out why Tejada, Ramirez and Reyes are even on this list.

Tejada a huge NO
Ramirez likely wont be a SS within 2 years as he's brutal defensively.
Reyes is way too early in his career to make any predictions about.

Jeter and Vizquel will both get in...although Vizquel is definitely not a 1st ballot guy. His 11 GG, almost 2700 hits will get him in. If he has an okay season this year (didn't he sign with the Padres?) he should be just over 2700 (2657 right now). He is hands down the best defensive SS since Ozzie retired.

My husband was at the David Wells perfect game in NY -- he and my FIL went up to the HOF and on a lark decided to just "grab" a Yankees game on the way back home. Can you imagine?
I wish I had been there. My hubby has a knack for that kind of thing. He was at the infamous Phils DHer in '93, too.

****He has 1 MVP (4 top 30 finishes)****

Not to belittle Baseball-Reference, but that secondary stat is perhaps the most meaningless thing I've ever seen "4 top 30 finishes"...wow. Top 5 is legit, Top 10 a bit less...Top 30 means that somebody gave him a vote and it wasn't even a 1st place vote...meaningless.

NEPP,

I'm just trying to show that right now Rollins has to be considered number 3 on the list of SS for this 25 year period to get into the HOF.

Also, if anyone wants to throw out A-Rod, aside from the steroid issue, Rollins has already played more games at SS than him.

Also, Rollins is less than 250 games behind Yount in games played at SS.

Let's not forget how rare it is to have a guy play 1500+ games at SS - Rollins should have no problem doing this.

Tejada is an interesting case. My guess is he's going to get a lot less HOF support than he should. 1 MVP, another top 5 finish, career OPS+ of 112, and a 6-year stretch where he was probably the best or 2nd best shortstop in the league (sometimes best, sometimes behind A-Rod or Jeter). Also had one of the top 5 consecutive games streaks in history, if I remember correctly.

Of course, he's been ensnared in this steroids controversy, which will make no voter wasnt to support him, despite never actually testing positive. He just pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a teammate using, not himself. If that gets held against him it's a shame, and an example of how this whole steroid issue is such a mess.

I agree T Mac. I'm hopeful that Jroll ends up having a nice bronze statue outside CBP in 20 years.

****Tejada is an interesting case. My guess is he's going to get a lot less HOF support than he should. ****

He will likely get no support whatsoever. That's still more than he deserves to get.

Here's the link to BP's top 100 prospects.

NEPP: Why?

Alan Trammell: 185 HRs, .285 AVG, 110 OPS+, 236 SBs, 3 top 10 MVP finishes, 6 All-Star Games, career line of .285/.352/.415

Tejada: 271 HRs, .286 AVG, 112 OPS+, 73 SBs, 1 MVP, 2 top 10 MVP finishes, 5 All-Star games, career line of .286/.341/.471

If Tejada plays another 3 years and gets up to about 2400 hits, he'd be right about equal with Trammell.

Trammell received 18% of the vote this year.

Whether Rollins or whoever deserves to get in and whether they will get in are different issues. Not being from NY or Boston hurts their chances. I think, despite his short career so far, Howard has the best profile. HR and RBI - however small their statistical value - matter more than anything in Hall of Fame votes. He will likely end up with huge totals in both categories, and throw in some stuff about him being a feared hitter and he'll be in.

TMac - You are right about contemporary and it is tough for JRoll that he has plaid in an era with some great SS. Going to make it tougher to get a HOF vote even if he continues to be very productive for until 34 or 35.

Biggest reason against Utley is that he wasn't a full-time starter until 26 which is pretty amazing. JRoll was by 22 and had 4 more season to wrap up numbers which matters a lot during HOF discussions.

Trammell's never been accused of using PEDs either.

That's why.

NEPP: So all it takes is an accusation and someone's career should be totally discounted? Wow.

Gaylord Perry is in the HOF despite being suspended for and admitting to using illegal pitches. Yet Tejada gets mentioned somewhere that he may have used PEDs, and he shouldn't even be considered?

What if someone randomly accuses Chase Utley of taking PEDs? Will that discount him in your mind?

Look, I'm all for considering the fact of PED use if someone tests positive. But just on hearsay? Seems ridiculous and frankly unfair to me.

Anybody actually hear if the Phils actually plan on having a bit more of a rational TV and radio announcing schedule this year? Anyone seen/heard much about this?

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