For the last few years – and by few I mean really dozen or so – I have been comparing players and trying to find a good way to compare them, particularly when it comes to the Hall of Fame.  While I get that there is no end all statistical formula to make every decision, I do believe that one can come up with a method better than “He’s a Hall of Famer because I just know it”.

 

I believe that I have a method (at least for position players; I’m still tinkering with the pitchers model) – I call it my Hall of Fame Rating.  What I first did was separate the Hall of Fame players by their primary position (these were the ones selected at players, not former players who were selected as managers).  I took four statistics – well really five, but I’ll get to the fifth one in a moment – and broke those down a little further.  The four stats I used were Bill James’ Win Shares (WS), Baseball Reference’s Wins Above Replacement (bWAR), Fan Graph’s Wins Above Replacement (fWAR), and Baseball Prospectus’ Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP).

 

This was a little tricky because Baseball Prospectus only goes back to 1950.  Obviously we shouldn’t punish early players for a website’s lack of data, so we only consider a player’s WARP if they played the majority of their career after 1949.  On other words, Joe Dimaggio doesn’t get docked for playing only two seasons after 1949 (and therefore only accumulated 8.3 WARP), and Richie Ashburn gets credit for playing 13 of his 15 seasons after 1949 (and accumulated 72.2 WARP).  Fortunately this isn’t a big lot and therefore a fairly simple fix.

 

I break those four stats into three separate numbers.  First is the overall career total.  Then, I figure what they averaged per 162 games.  Then I figure out what their best five year average is.  Then I put a count together of how many All-Star level seasons each player had.  By All-Star level, I looked up what each site considered All-Star level.  For Win Shares, it’s 20, for Baseball Reference it’s 5.0, for Fan Graphs and Baseball Prospectus it’s 4.0.

 

Then I added in Jay Jaffe’s JAWS.  JAWS stands for JAffe War Score.  It is simply a hitter’s career offensive WAR plus his offensive WAR in his seven best seasons divided by two.  He uses it to compare players to the average Hall of Famer at each position.

 

What I then did was take every player at each position and get the averages for every category.  The next thing was to take the lowest score of each until I got to the All-Star level seasons.  I had to make one change.  I decided that the low bar for All-Star seasons should be four.

 

First, there are a few in the Hall of Fame that had exactly zero All-Star seasons and my formula involves division and dividing by zero just can’t happen.  Second, the reason so many of the zeros were inducted was that the Veterans Committee – behind the urging of a few, but particularly Frankie Frisch – put those questionable at best players in.  And third, if you’re making a Hall of Fame case for a player, in my opinion you had better have at least four seasons at an All-Star level, Frankie Frisch’s opinion be damned.

 

So we have those figures.  What I did then was looked at those same figures for players, started at 50.00 and divided each figure by the average Hall of Famer.  Then I repeated the process with the minimum totals.  For each percentage I subtracted 1.00 from them, then added that total to the original 50.00.  This is a player’s Hall of Fame Rating.  As for a frame of reference, if a player’s HOFR is higher than the average Hall of Famer’s I consider them a lock on my ballot.  If they score 60.00 or higher, I consider them a solid choice.  If they are below 60.00 but above 50.00 they had better be a catcher or have a reason that blows me away.  If they are below 50.00 don’t even try discussing it with me.  For an example, let’s use Scott Rolen.

 

Rolen played 17 seasons and 2,038 games.  Here are his career numbers:

 

Scott Rolen
Year G WS WS/162 WS5Y bWAR bW/162 bW5Y fWAR fW/162 fW5Y WARP WP/162 WP5Y
1996 37 2 8.8 -0.3 -1.3 -0.2 -0.9 0.0 0.0
1997 156 29 30.1 4.5 4.7 4.2 4.4 5.7 5.9
1998 160 30 30.4 6.7 6.8 7.0 7.1 6.1 6.2
1999 112 15 21.7 4.6 6.7 4.8 6.9 4.9 7.1
2000 128 18 22.8 18.8 4.5 5.7 4.0 4.6 5.8 4.1 4.5 5.7 4.2
2001 151 29 31.1 24.2 5.5 5.9 5.2 5.6 6.0 5.2 6.1 6.5 5.5
2002 155 26 27.2 23.6 6.5 6.8 5.6 6.5 6.8 5.7 5.6 5.9 5.4
2003 154 24 25.2 22.4 4.7 4.9 5.2 6.2 6.5 5.5 5.3 5.6 5.3
2004 142 35 39.9 26.4 9.1 10.4 6.1 9.0 10.3 6.4 9.2 10.5 6.1
2005 56 5 14.5 23.8 1.6 4.6 5.5 1.1 3.2 5.7 1.1 3.2 5.5
2006 142 21 24.0 22.2 5.8 6.6 5.5 5.5 6.3 5.7 6.6 7.5 5.6
2007 112 11 15.9 19.2 1.8 2.6 4.6 2.4 3.5 4.8 2.3 3.3 4.9
2008 115 11 15.5 16.6 3.4 4.8 4.3 2.6 3.7 4.1 2.8 3.9 4.4
2009 128 17 21.5 13.0 5.2 6.6 3.6 4.0 5.1 3.1 4.0 5.1 3.4
2010 133 18 21.9 15.6 4.1 5.0 4.1 4.6 5.6 3.8 4.6 5.6 4.1
2011 65 5 12.5 12.4 1.6 4.0 3.2 1.1 2.7 2.9 0.8 2.0 2.9
2012 92 8 14.1 11.8 0.6 1.1 3.0 1.0 1.8 2.7 0.7 1.2 2.6
  2038 304 24.2 26.4 69.9 5.6 6.1 70.0 5.6 6.4 70.3 5.6 6.1
7 6 11 11

 

The numbers at the bottom indicate the All-Star level seasons.  His JAWS is 56.8.  Now, when comparing him to the Hall of Fame third basemen, their numbers are:

 

  WS WS/162 WS5Y bWAR bW/162 bW5Y fWAR fW/162 fW5Y WARP WP/162 WP5Y
Avg. 330.6 25.2 27.6 66.9 5.1 6.1 65.8 5.0 6.0 77.0 5.2 6.8
Min 190.0 19.9 16.2 28.2 3.0 3.5 30.4 3.2 3.3 20.8 3.4 3.2

 

The Average JAWS is 54.7 while the the lowest was 27.3.  As for the average All-Star level seasons, those are 8.8 20+ Win Share seasons, 5.8 5+ fWAR seasons, 8.1 4+ fWAR seasons, and 9.8 4+ WARP seasons.  When you take those number and do the math with Rolen’s you get 67.72 while the average rating for a third baseman is 65.10.  In other words, next year when the ballot comes out, he’s marked off on mine.  What I did then was look up every player since 1950 who accumulated at least 250 Win Shares and are not in the Hall of Fame.  Here are those figures:

 

Rnk Last First HOFR >HOF Rnk Last First HOFR >HOF
1 Bonds Barry 119.15 Y 62 Ventura Robin 55.33 N
2 Rodriguez Alex 88.79 Y 63 Lemon Chet 55.28 N
3 Pujols Albert 85.44 Y 64 Colavito Rocky 55.15 N
4 Bagwell Jeff 75.32 Y 65 Pinson Vada 55.11 N
5 Jones Chipper 73.10 Y 66 Freehan Bill 55.08 N
6 Ramirez Manny 70.25 Y 67 Clark Jack 54.58 N
7 Cabrera Miguel 69.98 Y 68 Cash Norm 54.38 N
8 Grich Bobby 68.89 Y 69 Foster George 54.25 N
9 Beltre Adrian 68.69 Y 70 Fregosi Jim 54.06 N
10 Rolen Scott 67.72 Y 71 Posada Jorge 53.97 N
11 Utley Chase 67.69 Y 72 Gonzalez Luis 53.91 N
12 Martinez Edgar 66.76 Y 73 McGriff Fred 53.79 N
13 Walker Larry 66.35 N 74 Phillips Tony 53.77 N
14 Edmonds Jim 66.04 N 75 Murphy Dale 53.43 N
15 Bonds Bobby 66.02 N 76 Tejada Miguel 53.42 N
16 McGwire Mark 65.89 Y 77 Delgado Carlos 53.07 N
17 Allen Dick 65.40 Y 78 Mattingly Don 52.83 N
18 Rodriguez Ivan 65.03 Y 79 Staub Rusty 52.78 N
19 Beltran Carlos 64.90 N 80 Strawberry Darryl 52.75 N
20 Smith Reggie 64.68 N 81 Parker Dave 52.74 N
21 Raines Tim 64.55 Y 82 Lynn Fred 52.56 N
22 Thome Jim 64.29 Y 83 Teixeira Mark 52.31 N
23 Cano Robinson 64.25 N 84 Singleton Ken 52.24 N
24 Minoso Minnie 64.05 N 85 Harrah Toby 52.15 N
25 Jones Andruw 63.56 N 86 Ortiz David 52.12 N
26 Abreu Bobby 63.37 N 87 Butler Brett 51.93 N
27 Mauer Joe 63.37 Y 88 Rollins Jimmy 51.92 N
28 Boyer Ken 63.30 N 89 Campaneris Bert 51.01 N
29 Jeter Derek 62.74 Y 90 Howard Frank 50.10 N
30 Torre Joe 62.60 Y 91 Otis Amos 49.42 N
31 Sheffield Gary 62.57 N 92 Fernandez Tony 49.23 N
32 Guerrero Vladimir 62.33 N 93 Canseco Jose 48.93 N
33 Nettles Graig 62.21 N 94 Grace Mark 48.44 N
34 Bando Sal 62.10 N 95 Damon Johnny 48.35 N
35 Berkman Lance 61.90 N 96 Alou Moises 47.96 N
36 Sosa Sammy 61.58 N 97 Burks Ellis 47.60 N
37 Wynn Jimmy 61.35 N 98 Downing Brian 47.50 N
38 Palmeiro Rafael 61.23 N 99 Franco Julio 47.09 N
39 Helton Todd 60.85 N 100 Powell Boog 47.08 N
40 Hernandez Keith 60.83 N 101 Oliver Al 46.93 N
41 Simmons Ted 60.80 N 102 Murcer Bobby 46.92 N
42 Suzuki Ichiro 60.76 N 103 Wills Maury 46.84 N
43 Wright David 60.44 N 104 Finley Steve 45.66 N
44 Trammell Alan 60.33 N 105 Bonilla Bobby 45.30 N
45 Lofton Kenny 60.11 N 106 Hunter Torii 45.28 N
46 Evans Dwight 60.02 N 107 Ramirez Aramis 45.25 N
47 Bell Buddy 59.81 N 108 O’Neill Paul 44.97 N
48 Whitaker Lou 59.62 N 109 Concepcion Dave 44.03 N
49 Evans Darrell 59.57 N 110 Garvey Steve 43.79 N
50 Kent Jeff 58.55 N 111 Baines Harold 41.13 N
51 Randolph Willie 58.52 N 112 Griffey, Sr. Ken 40.73 N
52 Cedeno Cesar 58.18 N 113 Joyner Wally 40.69 N
53 Giambi Jason 57.16 N 114 Davis Chili 39.85 N
54 Cey Ron 56.98 N 115 Galarraga Andres 39.55 N
55 Davis Willie 56.90 N 116 Fairly Ron 39.50 N
56 Holliday Matt 56.40 N 117 Vizquel Omar 39.28 N
57 Clark Will 56.20 N 118 Monday Rick 39.18 N
58 Olerud John 56.11 N 119 Matthews Gary 38.89 N
59 White Roy 56.09 N 120 Baylor Don 37.97 N
60 Williams Bernie 56.07 N 121 Konerko Paul 33.75 N
61 Cruz Jose 56.04 N

 

These numbers seem reasonable.  Now I have to figure out the pitchers . . .

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