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Thread: Jeff Bagwell - Underrated Historically?

  1. #51
    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:

    Gehrig .2322; 1.071 runs
    Foxx .2221; 921.8
    Pujols .2302; 853.6 [does NOT include any 2012 numbers]
    Bagwell .1915; 674.3
    Terry .1833; 406.7
    Thomas .1947; 702.2
    Allen .1766; 418.3
    Thome .1936; 747.2
    McGwire .2023; 630.8
    Helton .1953; 908.1
    Greenberg .2096; 573.1 [lost 5 + yrs, WW II]

    Other 1B, both HoF inductees and outsiders are [with net career RUNS > MLB average]:

    Murray [510[; McCovey [447.7]; Killebrew [451.3]; Trosky [328.4]; Cash [324.8]; Hernandez [329.6]; Hodges [308.2]; Cepeda [330.6]; G. Sisler [337.4]; Grace [336.2]; Galarraga [322.1]; Delgado [546.2]; McGriff [451.1].

    To my knowledge, NO other 1B whose career occurred between 1901 and 2011 has ever put up 300 net runs above MLB position player average, whether in the HoF or not.

    In this context, how much do we value defense [or simply ignore it], or batting performance that is not long-ball driven? Shouls Hernandez and Hodges get a second look for defense? Why is Frank Thomas so easily ignored? How will Todd Helton be treated?
    How does Helton end up so far ahead of Bagwell when their rates are nearly equal and Bagwell has more plate appearances? Same for Helton v. Thomas.

  2. #52
    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:

    Gehrig .2322; 1.071 runs
    Foxx .2221; 921.8
    Pujols .2302; 853.6 [does NOT include any 2012 numbers]
    Bagwell .1915; 674.3
    Terry .1833; 406.7
    Thomas .1947; 702.2
    Allen .1766; 418.3
    Thome .1936; 747.2
    McGwire .2023; 630.8
    Helton .1953; 908.1
    Greenberg .2096; 573.1 [lost 5 + yrs, WW II]

    Other 1B, both HoF inductees and outsiders are [with net career RUNS > MLB average]:

    Murray [510[; McCovey [447.7]; Killebrew [451.3]; Trosky [328.4]; Cash [324.8]; Hernandez [329.6]; Hodges [308.2]; Cepeda [330.6]; G. Sisler [337.4]; Grace [336.2]; Galarraga [322.1]; Delgado [546.2]; McGriff [451.1].

    To my knowledge, NO other 1B whose career occurred between 1901 and 2011 has ever put up 300 net runs above MLB position player average, whether in the HoF or not.

    In this context, how much do we value defense [or simply ignore it], or batting performance that is not long-ball driven? Shouls Hernandez and Hodges get a second look for defense? Why is Frank Thomas so easily ignored? How will Todd Helton be treated?
    How did Helton get such a high value. He's been a fine player but his stats have been significantly inflated by playing half his games at Coors Field, whose effect has been well documented. It appears that you have not taken this into account. Is that correct, or am I missing something?

  3. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by leewileyfan View Post
    In this context, how much do we value defense [or simply ignore it], or batting performance that is not long-ball driven? Should Hernandez and Hodges get a second look for defense? Why is Frank Thomas so easily ignored? How will Todd Helton be treated?
    How about this guy??

  4. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Second Base Coach;2007935[B
    ]Bill James writes a huge updated Historical Baseball Abstract and under Bagwell name (who he rates very high) James types out this lone word:

    Pass.

    What's the deal there? Anyone know?[/B]
    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."

  5. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    How does Helton end up so far ahead of Bagwell when their rates are nearly equal and Bagwell has more plate appearances? Same for Helton v. Thomas.
    Brett and Big Ron have basically raised the same question: Helton's numbers and the Coors Effect. In discussions, where personal opinions are the topic, and player career evaluations are being inspected, I start out with the simplest, most direct, and bare bones presentation I can possobly find. Therefore, ESPECIALLY since Jeff Bagwell was the principal focus of he thread starter, I treated Helton like everybody else and did NOT imose the Coors factor on his numbers.

    1. In fact, I used another player's PA [more PA's] as denominator for Helton's input, UNDER-stating Helton'r raw numbers. His production or batting runs + the net of his defense runs saved is actually .2096.

    2. From this, one can make whatever adjustment he likes to subtract from that starting point. After all, isn't that at the core of any discussion of who BELIEVES this player or that player does [or does not] deserves Hof induction. 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].

    Heck, just toss out 12.5% of Helton's Runs > Average; and he'd still be at +794.6 runs, pretty rarefied air, indeed.

  6. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by leewileyfan View Post
    Brett and Big Ron have basically raised the same question: Helton's numbers and the Coors Effect. In discussions, where personal opinions are the topic, and player career evaluations are being inspected, I start out with the simplest, most direct, and bare bones presentation I can possobly find. Therefore, ESPECIALLY since Jeff Bagwell was the principal focus of he thread starter, I treated Helton like everybody else and did NOT imose the Coors factor on his numbers.

    1. In fact, I used another player's PA [more PA's] as denominator for Helton's input, UNDER-stating Helton'r raw numbers. His production or batting runs + the net of his defense runs saved is actually .2096.

    2. From this, one can make whatever adjustment he likes to subtract from that starting point. After all, isn't that at the core of any discussion of who BELIEVES this player or that player does [or does not] deserves Hof induction. 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].

    Heck, just toss out 12.5% of Helton's Runs > Average; and he'd still be at +794.6 runs, pretty rarefied air, indeed.


    there are two problems though. One is what you mentioned that Helton's batting numbers are boosted by Coors. The level of the average player should be about 20% higher. The second is that the same number of runs are worth less in Coors because there has been nearly 20% more runs per game, so a run above average (with the glove or bat) is only worth about 80% as many wins to a team.

  7. #57
    The point I tried to make was that Helton deserves to be included in any discussion top top 1B. Park factor is a modifier that tweaks the relative interpretation of the raw statistical data. Park factor is also a variable variable. It is not fixed. It floats, as for example, the Coors factor has, between 1.12 and 1.22 over a decade.

    Even if we knock 20% off the Helton numbers I cited, he'd be at over 700 net run production above an average MLB position player. There are several HoF 1B with less than half that production level.

    In the context of the thread opener, I believe I was straightforward in my approach.

  8. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by csh19792001 View Post
    I responded to the link provided; and this morning the message was unavailable [expired]. I tried to make a well prepared response, but if it went NOWHERE??? it was a waste of time. [It was about Bill Dahlen, SS].

  9. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by leewileyfan View Post
    The point I tried to make was that Helton deserves to be included in any discussion top top 1B. Park factor is a modifier that tweaks the relative interpretation of the raw statistical data. Park factor is also a variable variable. It is not fixed. It floats, as for example, the Coors factor has, between 1.12 and 1.22 over a decade.

    Even if we knock 20% off the Helton numbers I cited, he'd be at over 700 net run production above an average MLB position player. There are several HoF 1B with less than half that production level.

    In the context of the thread opener, I believe I was straightforward in my approach.
    Coors hitters are certainly unfairly treated, say in comparison to hitters at Fenway, lefties at Yankee Stadium. Over the history of Colorado baseball, no one in a Rockies uniform comes close to Helton's career production.

    You wonder what kind of numbers Bagwell could have put up if the Red Sox had never let him go.

  10. #60
    I thought/hoped that the Coors discussion was well past us. Of course all ballparks treat different types of hitters differently. Some favor lefty pull hitters, some righthanded line drive hitters, some don't favor any type of hitter, etc. I think that's pretty well understood by most- at least I hope so.

    But, Coors Field- at least until recent years- has had a more positive effect on hitting than ANY other ML park- Baker Bowl included.

    Here's Michael Schell's breakdown of the Coors effect- using API- adjusted park index, where 100 is average. Information for Coors Field is from 1995-2003.

    Runs scored per game: Coors Field number 1 140 API- Baker bowl 1926-1937 is second at 120.
    OPS: Coors Field number 1 121 API- 2 parks tied for second at 112.
    Batting Average: Coors Field number 1 API 120- Baker Bowl 1922-1937 is second at 109.
    Home Runs since 1961: Coors Field number 2 API 155- Fulton County 1977-1982 number 1 at 171.
    Triples: Coors Field number 2 API 156- Arizona Bank One 1998-2003 number 1 at 161.

    Brett and others have posted numerous times on Helton. Relatively speaking, he hit about as well on the road as at home. BUT, because his Coors numbers were SO large (as were the numbers for most other Rockies), the net effect was to make his overall numbers look better than they really were.

    Helton has been a fine player- no doubt. He almost certainly will make the HOF, and probably deserves it. But, I don't think he's among the top 12 first basemen of all time, and he's a step below Bagwell, who deserves very serious consideration as high as number 5..

  11. #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).

  12. #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.

  13. #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!

  14. #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
    If Rfield was a better stat, and actually measured fielding ability, we would not need Rpos.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5hCIvMule0

  15. #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....

  16. #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.

  17. #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.

  18. #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.

  19. #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!

  20. #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.

  21. #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.

  22. #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.

  23. #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.

  24. #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.

  25. #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.

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