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Thread: Jeff Bagwell - Underrated Historically?

  1. #61
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    Thanks for this thread!

    I became an Astros fan growing up because my first rec league team was named after them. I chose #5, which I wore all through HS and have since passed on to my 9u son, because of Jeff and he became one of my favorites. Never thought he got the respect he deserved, but just attributed to the PED allegations seemingly always surrounding him (and Biggio).

  2. #62
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    I think Helton is a good first baseman, and yes, above several, I'd say four or so, who are already in the Hall of Fame, but I do think he's behind Bagwell, and I would be hesitant to add him to the Hall since he'd be near the bottom of those already in. Now, he has time to add to his numbers and maybe that would push him high enough. For some reason, I don't like to add many players to the Hall now who aren't in the Top Half of those in. So for me, Helton would be at #16 or so today, and that's without the 9 or so not yet in or eligible among the recent or current players. So he'd be at about #25 of 29. Too far down for me, although I'm not a fan of putting in McGwire, Palmeiro, or Giambi, who are in that group. And the ones not in who should be in my view like Thomas, Pujols, Bagwell, and Thome. With Helton, he's in the territory of Fred McGriff and Carlos Delgado to me, ... very good, but just a bit short of making it, even though they were very good and deserve consideration.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by leewileyfan View Post
    HOWEVER, I wouldn't want the Coors Effect to be applied to his defensive play ... [I doubt that mountain air does much for one's glove work].
    Yeah, the air really applies when it comes to fly balls, not grounders or line drives in the infield.
    Chop! Chop! Chop!

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by csh19792001 View Post
    He does that with several players that were mid career, and ergo probably shouldn't be slotted somewhere in his all time rankings. I think he was saying "pass" as "we know how awesome this guy is, but no idea where he'll end up ranking after he's hung up his spikes."
    Yesterday I saw a transcript of a live interview with James. He explained the Pass comment along these lines: There isn't anything I could say about Bagwell that isn't already well known.
    Your Second Base Coach
    Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey started 833 times and the Dodgers went 498-335, for a .598 winning percentage. Thatís equal to a team going 97-65 over a season. On those occasions when at least one of them missed his start, the Dodgers were 306-267-1, which is a .534 clip. That works out to a team going 87-75. So having all four of them added 10 wins to the Dodgers per year.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5hCIvMule0

  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe33 View Post

    You wonder what kind of numbers Bagwell could have put up if the Red Sox had never let him go.
    Although his splits don't show it, it stands to reason that his 10 years in the Astrodome certainly held down his numbers. The place was always poor for power hitters. Can you imagine how many cheap Green Monster doubles and home runs he would have had playing half his games there!?

    Look at the career stats for the right hands Red Sox greats. That gives us a glimpse....

  6. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by Second Base Coach View Post
    Yesterday I saw a transcript of a live interview with James. He explained the Pass comment along these lines: There isn't anything I could say about Bagwell that isn't already well known.
    Very interesting...

    In his unusual tangential? style, many of his player evaluations (in his New Abstract) had little to do with the actual player he was ranking.

  7. #67
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    Bagwell was a great player who played during a time where he sort of became just another slugger. Sure, he could hit, but a first baseman isn't going to stand out when you have players at more valuable defensive positions putting up the same numbers. Bonds suffered the same fate during the same period. Sosa and Mcgwire were putting their numbers to shame, and guys like Chipper Jones, Jeff Kent, Mike Piazza, Larry Walker, Jim Edmonds, and Craig Biggio were playing prime defensive positions and/or adding defensive and baserunning value.. You also had Gwynn, Sheffield, Vlad, Pujols, and Helton competing with him, and this isn;t even counting the AL.

    He was unfortunate. If he was in his prime now, he would be considered the best player in baseball.

  8. #68
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    road stats, Thomas, Bagwell, and Helton

    Bagwell 1044 games, 4787 PA, 215 HR, 750 RBI, 110 SB .291/.398/.521
    Thomas 1149 games, 5064 PA, 209 HR, 815 RBI, 17 SB,.297/.414/.511
    THelton 1023 games, 4312 PA, 137 HR, 524 RBI, 13 SB,.290/.390/.479

    Top 10 WAR

    Bagwell 7.4,7.1,6.9,6.7,5.8,5.5,5.1,5.0,4.6, 4.3 total 58.4
    Thomas 7.0,6.7,6.6,6.1,5.9,5.7,5.3,4.9,3.9,3.3 total 55.4
    THelton 8.4, 7.6,7.4,5.8,5.8,4.2,4.1,3.0,2.8, 2.6 total 49.1

    I think WAR overrates players that play in hitter-friendly parks. I wish there was a road-WAR stat. Helton's road stats do hold up pretty well, however. However, I'm guessing that Helton, along with Walker, Castilla, Gallaraga, and Bichette all posted career OPS numbers that were at least 150 pts higher at Coors vs on the road. I've also looked at Chuck Klein's road stats and his WAR numbers look great despite some very anemic road stats.

  9. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by leewileyfan View Post
    To see who's getting his "propers" historically at 1B, I just take batting runs created + defense runs at 1B [all career] divided by total plate appearances. From there, I get a four digit decimal, which is net runs/PA above MLB average position player production/PA. Then we can get RUNS, career ? MLB average. Here's what that exercise produces:

    Pujols .2302; 853.6 [does NOT include any 2012 numbers]
    With the way Pujols is performing this year, Albert is extremely thankful that 2012 is not included!

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by pheasant View Post
    road stats, Thomas, Bagwell, and Helton

    Bagwell 1044 games, 4787 PA, 215 HR, 750 RBI, 110 SB .291/.398/.521
    Thomas 1149 games, 5064 PA, 209 HR, 815 RBI, 17 SB,.297/.414/.511
    THelton 1023 games, 4312 PA, 137 HR, 524 RBI, 13 SB,.290/.390/.479

    Top 10 WAR

    Bagwell 7.4,7.1,6.9,6.7,5.8,5.5,5.1,5.0,4.6, 4.3 total 58.4
    Thomas 7.0,6.7,6.6,6.1,5.9,5.7,5.3,4.9,3.9,3.3 total 55.4
    THelton 8.4, 7.6,7.4,5.8,5.8,4.2,4.1,3.0,2.8, 2.6 total 49.1

    I think WAR overrates players that play in hitter-friendly parks. I wish there was a road-WAR stat. Helton's road stats do hold up pretty well, however. However, I'm guessing that Helton, along with Walker, Castilla, Gallaraga, and Bichette all posted career OPS numbers that were at least 150 pts higher at Coors vs on the road. I've also looked at Chuck Klein's road stats and his WAR numbers look great despite some very anemic road stats.
    I agree. Helton was not half the hitter that Thomas was in his prime..so how can he have 3 seasons that are better than any of Thomas' seasons? I do not know how WAR works, but I am guessing that it doesn't have much of a home/road factor to it. Any decent stat needs to be able to tell the guys that were only great due to their home park, and adjust accordingly.


    Mike Piazza is vastly underrated using WAR. Here are his road stats:

    975 games 4064 PA , 232 HR, 712 RBI, .320 388 .572

    To me he was matching the best first baseman, and then some, and doing it from the catcher spot, and yet still always had less offensive WAR than them.

    WAR has issues with its home/road factor as well as its positional adjustments.
    Last edited by willshad; 05-04-2012 at 08:32 PM.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by willshad View Post
    I agree. Helton was not half the hitter that Thomas was in his prime..so how can he have 3 seasons that are better than any of Thomas' seasons? I do not know how WAR works, but I am guessing that it doesn't have much of a home/road factor to it. Any decent stat needs to be able to tell the guys that were only great due to their home park, and adjust accordingly.


    Mike Piazza is vastly underrated using WAR. Here are his road stats:

    975 games 4064 PA , 232 HR, 712 RBI, .320 388 .572

    To me he was matching the best first baseman, and then some, and doing it from the catcher spot, and yet still always had less offensive WAR than them.

    WAR has issues with its home/road factor as well as its positional adjustments.
    Piazza played in two of the worst hitting parks in the big leagues. I bet if we look at Piazza's peak, he probably hit about .335 on the road for a 10 year stretch and slugged .600.

  12. #72
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    player ------ Coors ------------------- road -- ----------- OPS spread Coors/road

    To Helton 4499 PA, .352/.449/.618/1.068... 4312 PA, .290/.390/.479/.869 ... +.199
    Gallaraga 1065 PA, .333/.394/.631/1.025... 4550 PA, .270/.327/.464/.791 ... +.234
    Bichette 1755 PA, .358/.394/.641/1.035 ... 3390 PA, .269/.306/.424/.730 ... +.305
    Walker 2501 PA, .381/.462/.710/1.172 ... 4034 PA, .278/.370/.495/.865 ... +.307
    Last edited by pheasant; 05-04-2012 at 08:46 PM.

  13. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by pheasant View Post
    road stats, Thomas, Bagwell, and Helton

    Bagwell 1044 games, 4787 PA, 215 HR, 750 RBI, 110 SB .291/.398/.521
    Thomas 1149 games, 5064 PA, 209 HR, 815 RBI, 17 SB,.297/.414/.511
    THelton 1023 games, 4312 PA, 137 HR, 524 RBI, 13 SB,.290/.390/.479

    Top 10 WAR

    Bagwell 7.4,7.1,6.9,6.7,5.8,5.5,5.1,5.0,4.6, 4.3 total 58.4
    Thomas 7.0,6.7,6.6,6.1,5.9,5.7,5.3,4.9,3.9,3.3 total 55.4
    THelton 8.4, 7.6,7.4,5.8,5.8,4.2,4.1,3.0,2.8, 2.6 total 49.1

    I think WAR overrates players that play in hitter-friendly parks. I wish there was a road-WAR stat. Helton's road stats do hold up pretty well, however. However, I'm guessing that Helton, along with Walker, Castilla, Gallaraga, and Bichette all posted career OPS numbers that were at least 150 pts higher at Coors vs on the road.

    Helton's OPS+ though on the road is right in line with his home OPS+ (it is about 4% lower than his home OPS+ which is as good as, or a little better than the typical league dropoff). The main reason though is that he maintains his relative on-base percentage on the road. Take Helton's .390 road OB%. The average player has about a 4% better OB% at home which would put it at about .406, and the average player got about a 15% boost at Coors versus in another park, which would put him at .467 so his home OB% is actually not as good as his road OB% relative to ballpark and home field boosts. As for his .479 slugging, the average guy gets about a 5% boost at home which would be .503 and 22 or 23% boost to slugging at Coors which would be about .616. In other words Helton did not benefit more from Coors than an average hitter did. Walker played during an even greater offensive period at Coors and his home+coors rates versus his road+other park rates are right in line with the league. That means that it does not help either of their WAR values.

    It is hard to believe, but prior to the humidor, an average major league player with a .270/.340/.425 line who moved to Coors as a home park would have hit .330/.420/.570 AT COORS FIELD
    Last edited by brett; 05-04-2012 at 09:18 PM.

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by pheasant View Post
    Piazza played in two of the worst hitting parks in the big leagues. I bet if we look at Piazza's peak, he probably hit about .335 on the road for a 10 year stretch and slugged .600.
    His best road stretch was 1993 to 2002 where he hit .340 and had a slugging of .616.

  15. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by willshad View Post
    I agree. Helton was not half the hitter that Thomas was in his prime..so how can he have 3 seasons that are better than any of Thomas' seasons? I do not know how WAR works, but I am guessing that it doesn't have much of a home/road factor to it. Any decent stat needs to be able to tell the guys that were only great due to their home park, and adjust accordingly.


    Mike Piazza is vastly underrated using WAR. Here are his road stats:

    975 games 4064 PA , 232 HR, 712 RBI, .320 388 .572

    To me he was matching the best first baseman, and then some, and doing it from the catcher spot, and yet still always had less offensive WAR than them.

    WAR has issues with its home/road factor as well as its positional adjustments.
    See post 73, Helton did not benefit from playing at Coors in WAR. WAR takes the park into effect, AND Helton did not have better relative rates at home than on the road. He tops Thomas because Helton is one of the top 10 defensive first basemen of all time and Thomas gets less value for the significant number of games he DHed, and because he was possibly the worst fielding first baseman of all time.

  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous View Post
    His best road stretch was 1993 to 2002 where he hit .340 and had a slugging of .616.
    I wish I would have caught your post earlier. You are very fast at getting stats. I just spend 40 minutes getting the following stats.


    Piazza home/road



    year...............home........................... .........road

    1993.............281 ab, .313/.370/.584, .....266 ab, .323/.371/.538 .....86 h, 14 hr, 49 rbi, 143 tb....72 g
    1994.............193 ab, .275/.307/.508........ 212 ab, .358/.424/.571....76 h,11 hr, 53 rbi, 121 tb.... 57 g
    1995.............205 ab, .302/.364/.463.........229 ab, .384/.432/.734....88 h, 23 hr, 57 rbi, 168 tb....58 g
    1996.............278 ab, .320/.394/.493.........269 ab, .353/.448/.636....95 h, 22 hr, 59 rbi, 171 tb....71 g
    1997.............279 ab, .355/.424/.634.........277 ab, .368/.431/.643....102 h, 18 hr, 63 rbi, 178 tb...74 g
    1998.............243 ab, .305/.378/.551.........318 ab, .346/.399/.585....110 h, 17 hr, 59 rbi, 186 tb...85 g
    1999.............252 ab, .282/.336/.536.........282 ab, .323/.383/.610....91 h, 22 hr, 68 rbi, 172 tb....72 g
    2000.............238 ab, .269/.333/.525.........244 ab, .377/.459/.701....92 h, 21 hr, 60 rbi, 171 tb....68 g
    2001.............230 ab, .304/.399/.565.........273 ab, .297/.370/.579....81 t, 20 hr, 53 rbi, 158 tb....74 g
    2002.............218 ab, .275/.364/.495.........260 ab, .285/.354/.585....74 h, 21 hr, 54 rbi, 152 tb....68 g

    total road stats....2630 ab, 895 h, 189, hr, 575 rbi, 1620 tb, 699 games
    ................. .340 avg, .616 slug%,

    avg, per 162 games, on road: 44 HR 133 RBI, .340 AVG, .616 SLUG%
    Last edited by pheasant; 05-04-2012 at 09:36 PM.

  17. #77
    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    See post 73, Helton did not benefit from playing at Coors in WAR. WAR takes the park into effect, AND Helton did not have better relative rates at home than on the road. He tops Thomas because Helton is one of the top 10 defensive first basemen of all time and Thomas gets less value for the significant number of games he DHed, and because he was possibly the worst fielding first baseman of all time.
    And this is why I don't take statistics like WAR as gospel. Frank Thomas batting numbers from 1991-1997 done in a fully integrated league with out a single whisper of steroid accusations is incredibly impressive to me, and is enough to rank him way ahead of Helton, and many players of his generation sans Bonds, Pujols, Piazza, and possibly Arod.

    I would take Thomas of the 1990's any day over Griffey Jr.

  18. #78
    Quote Originally Posted by fenrir View Post
    And this is why I don't take statistics like WAR as gospel. Frank Thomas batting numbers from 1991-1997 done in a fully integrated league with out a single whisper of steroid accusations is incredibly impressive to me, and is enough to rank him way ahead of Helton, and many players of his generation sans Bonds, Pujols, Piazza, and possibly Arod.

    I would take Thomas of the 1990's any day over Griffey Jr.

    WAR gets offensive value right with a small margin of error. We have a very good estimate of the value of batting and baserunning events and pretty much any system is going to evaluate player's offense similarly against the same baseline.

    Helton in 2000 has 73 normalized offensive runs above average in 160 games played.
    +63 hitting
    +1 baserunning
    0 for double play rate
    -10 for position
    +19 for defense at his position

    Thomas has 8 years where his hitting was as good or better than that per game.

    In '97, the year of his highest non-strike OPS+ (181) he did this
    +67 hitting
    0 baserunning
    -1 double plays
    -11 positional value (he DHed 49 games and played first base 97)
    -4 defense at his position

    So he tops Helton 67 to 61 in batting runs above average even though he played only 146 games and Helton 160 (almost 10% more).
    Helton had a 162 OPS+ and Thomas a 181 OPS+

    The average hitter at Coors field that year batted .351/.425/.563 and given a home field advantage about .365/.440/.590. That's right an average player who had Coors as their home park would have been expected to go .365/.440/.590 at home in 2000.

    Helton did this at home: .391/.484/.758

    That would give him a home OPS+ of just 138

    The average player on the road went about .325 on base and .410 slugging. Helton went .441/.633 on the road for a road relative OPS+ of 190.

    Granted that was his best road season but you can see he was not helped relatively speaking by his ballpark. In fact because he drew a lot of walks he may have been slightly relatively hurt by his park.

    For his career, last time I checked his home-relative OPS+ was 133 and his road relative OPS+ was 141 for his career. That was before the start of last season and he has been slightly better relatively on the road since then as well.

  19. #79
    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    It is hard to believe, but prior to the humidor, an average major league player with a .270/.340/.425 line who moved to Coors as a home park would have hit .330/.420/.570 AT COORS FIELD
    How much of that is attributable to the humidor and how much to steroid testing and the general decline in offense throughout the game?

  20. #80
    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    See post 73, Helton did not benefit from playing at Coors in WAR. WAR takes the park into effect, AND Helton did not have better relative rates at home than on the road. He tops Thomas because Helton is one of the top 10 defensive first basemen of all time and Thomas gets less value for the significant number of games he DHed, and because he was possibly the worst fielding first baseman of all time.
    This is what I alluded to earlier. Last year Brett posted some data which showed that Helton's home and road OPS+ values were just about the same. BUT, Helton's overall numbers are inflated due to the benefit of playing half his games with the (most of the time, until the last few years) enormous Coors effect.

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