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  • BBF Post of the Day

    From time to time I'll read an especially strong, well reasoned, well researched, thought provoking post. So I thought I'd give the posters some due credit. So for my very fist PotD I present:

    Originally posted by Greg Maddux's Biggest Fan View Post
    In a Nutshell, Maddux's Career boils down in 6 distinct phases:

    The Rookie Phase (1986-1987)
    : Maddux comes up for a cup of coffee in '86, and gets shelled. Ditto in his official rookie campaign in '87, except it lasts the whole season. He only just turns 21 at this point; he's taking his lumps and learning how to pitch. Nothing unusual here.

    The Early Years (1988-1991)
    : Maddux is learning how to pitch quickly and harnessing his control. Experiences good success in sophomore year going 18-8. His ERA+ during this time ranges from 114-128, so he's amongst the best 8-15 starting pitchers in the NL during this time, or moderately above average. What's jumps out at me is that he only gave up 55 homeruns over 987 IP pitching half the time at Wrigley Field, which is remarkable.

    The Dominant Years (1992-1998): Best pitcher in MLB hands down. Most probably, the best 7-year peak any pitcher has ever had, in any generation. Completely dominated hitters without being a huge strikeout guy. In 1674IP, Maddux gave up 62 Homeruns, or 1 HR every 27 innings! This is even more amazing considering he pitched 1 year at Wrigley and 4 years at Fulton County Stadium, aptly known as "The Launching Pad'... Of course, he became the only man to ever win 4 consecutive Cy Young's. ERA+ was 201 and had WHIP of under 1 four of those years, and never higher that 1.04. This level of domianance has never been seen by a non-power pitcher. Instramental player in the Braves playoff dynasty of the '90's...

    The Great, But Not Dominant Phase (1999-2002)
    : ERA+ between 125-159 during this period still ranks him amongst the best 3-4 SP's in the NL. Second in WHIP twice. Third in Cy Young voting in 2000. Obviously, still a premier pitcher and staff ace, but starting to lose some velocity off the fastball and giving up a few more hits and homeruns. As Honus points out, at the end of 2002, Maddux in 273-152 with a 2.83 era.

    The Decline Phase (2003-2006)
    : Maddux goes back to the Cubs where it all began. At this point, the movement on the fastball is what its always been, but the velocity is not. The lack of velocity is making it harder to pitch to contact, and keep the ball in the ballpark. Maddux is noticably giving up the gopher ball, and its affecting his ERA. In these four years, he gives up 108 HR in 865IP, or 1HR every 8 innings. His ERA+ is between 104-109 during this period, which still makes him a solid Number 3 rotation guy.

    The End of the Road Phase (2007-2008)
    : Pitching in an extreme pitcher friendly ball park is necessary at this point. The gradual decline in velocity is super evident at this point. I watched almost all his starts on the baseball network, and Maddux is routinely only hitting 83-84 on the gun. Really, since the 2004 season, he's only been a two-pitch pitcher (2 seam fastball/cut fastball-change). Literally only throws 1-2 beaking pitches a game, for a change of look. ERA+ is 93-98, which puts him at capable 4th or 5th starter, or slightly above replacement level. Rarely works more than 6 innings, even on good starts. The end is all too near, we just don't want to acknowledge it.

    And yes, I agree with the Splendid Splinter that consistency counts for a whole lot in terms of Maddux greatness. Year in and year out, he takes the ball and NEVER is on the DL, thus hurting his team by requiring a scrub to take his place. To me, he was the most consistent and durable pitcher ever, and this means a lot in terms of his greatness, and to the teams he played for.
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

  • #2
    A very good post. Truely a good read. You all should take a look at some of my posts though. They are rarely based on fact and usually just on my own opinion and obvious bias towards Willie Mays and other players i like, usually blacks and latinos. But i do keep it real tho.

    G Rizzle

    Comment


    • #3
      Is a 93-98 ERA+ really so close to replacement level for a starting pitcher?

      I would think it would be lower than that, intuitively.

      Anyway, way to give props Honus. But call me when Maddux's biggest fan works his way into MydogSparty's signature...

      I've long since advocated a BBF poster HOF, but that idea was talked about once or twice in the admin or whatever forum, and shot down.

      Oh well.
      THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

      In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by digglahhh View Post
        Is a 93-98 ERA+ really so close to replacement level for a starting pitcher?

        I would think it would be lower than that, intuitively.

        Anyway, way to give props Honus. But call me when Maddux's biggest fan works his way into MydogSparty's signature...

        I've long since advocated a BBF poster HOF, but that idea was talked about once or twice in the admin or whatever forum, and shot down.

        Oh well.
        Too much subjectivity involved and who has the right to decide? And based on what? Some of the issues I have always seen with that.

        Everyone who has posted in this thread is in my personal BBF poster HOF. I have all the pictures lined up accordingly randomly placed in my storage shed located just off the interstate. The one right by Hardee's. No, the other Hardee's.
        Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
        Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
        Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
        Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
        Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Captain Cold Nose View Post
          Too much subjectivity involved and who has the right to decide? And based on what? Some of the issues I have always seen with that.

          Everyone who has posted in this thread is in my personal BBF poster HOF. I have all the pictures lined up accordingly randomly placed in my storage shed located just off the interstate. The one right by Hardee's. No, the other Hardee's.
          LOL. Hardees.

          I think it could work, actually.

          You could set eligibility by tenure and/or post count.

          There's a week where posters can nominate candidates and then, if they're seconded or something people get put on the ballot.

          You vote every month or so. In the early stages, you could let a lot in per election because there are so many obvious choices. Then, you scale back to one or two selections per month.

          It is subjective, but that's not an issue as long as the process is democratic. Subjectivity is inextricable from democracy.
          THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

          In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

          Comment


          • #6
            Domenic with a nice post.

            Originally posted by Domenic View Post
            After this post, I am officially leaving this thread. Hopefully, a few people will read this and realize that this whole argument for lesser demographics is shenanigans, and cease indulging a very flawed argument.

            From 1960 through 1980 (which witnessed the bulk and best of Koosman's career), approximately 85% of MLB scouts were situated in the United States, and the United States alone. The other 15% were located predominantly in Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Players signed from outside of these areas were rarely scouted by MLB scouts - rather, they were recommended by others independent of the organization.

            Assume, for argument's sake, that each 1% of scouts can examine 1% of the population. This argument is obviously flawed, but it works in that it discusses the access that scouts have had throughout history. That would mean that ML scouts from that time period had access to (at the highest point) roughly 200 million people throughout their respective regions.

            From 1995 through the present, approximately 65% of scouts are situated in the United States. The other 35% have been situated in Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, South Korea, Panama, and Taiwan.

            Assuming the same argument, ML scouts have access to about 300 million people. This also does not factor in Cuban or Japanese defectors.

            Also consider, from 1980 to 1990, huge advances were made in the fields of surgery and medicine, meaning that younger players that were hurt had a better likelihood of recovering and playing longer and better. Consider the advancements in baseball technology - gloves, bats, etc. Consider the advancements in computer technology, in analyzing pitch preferences and the like.

            Consider the larger, more worldly feel to the game of baseball (it is now the most popular sport in Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Taiwan, and Venezuela) which has more people playing the game now then ever.

            In the end, consider the fact that baseball players today, on average, are likely, as a result of all of these factors, better than ever. With technological advances, medical advances, and the entering of several more countries into the talent pool, the players that make it to the big leagues are likely more talented than ever - a larger "cream of the crop," if you will.

            The decline in popularity of baseball in the United States (which is greatly overstated) is a non-factor, in conjunction with the expansion of the game on the worldwide level.
            Honus Wagner Rules
            xFIP?! I laugh at you!
            Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 12-14-2008, 03:50 PM.
            Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

            Comment


            • #7
              Chris with an excellent historical post.

              Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
              Collins apparently hit third for the majority of his career. This is according to the Rick Huhn biography as well as Bill James (both Abstracts).

              It seems counter-intuitive and myopic to us, but there is very sound reasoning behind for this. Connie Mack was one of the greatest baseball minds ever; he would know where to bat Collins. Eddie was possibly the most valued commodity in baseball before Ruth, and behind only Cobb.

              Collins may have had the least power of the 25 greatest players, but remember in the context of the time, and on those teams, he was a run producer, and not just a table setter ala Joe Morgan (who didn't produce in the clutch, as Brett has showed, and also couldn't hit for average overall). Collins was actually neck and neck with Baker (who hit fourth) most years in slugging. Collins had a much higher average and a much higher OPS+. Later, he hit in the three hole ahead of Joe Jackson. Not really much explanation needed there- perfect table setter for (another) premier slugger of that era.

              Bill James said Collins he was probably the greatest bunter ever. Ty Cobb said Eddie was the best bunter as well as the smartest and most astute player he ever saw. With the # of sacrifices and hit-and-runs in that era, you'd want your most skilled buy to advance the speedy 1-2 hitters. Bat him leadoff, and the value of his incredible skill at placing the ball might even be greatly diminished...

              From the beginning of his career until 1919, he hit .325 in a league that hit .260. His slugging actually exceeded the league average by 80 points! From our frame of reference, Collins had no power, but MAN, did he do everything else in the world to produce runs!!!

              He MUST have had one of the greatest eyes in history- or maybe he also had he Henderson crouch to get a ton of calls. Either way, from 1913 on- when K's began to be tracked- his K/BB ratio was 5:1. Absolutely incredible considering he wasn't the longball hitter Speaker, Cobb, and Jackson were.

              With the way the game has developed, though, today he might be leading off. I think of him more in the mold of Rollins/Reyes, but much better at getting hits.
              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

              Comment


              • #8
                i was there when he played his last regular season game, a win against my giants...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by giantsrule View Post
                  i was there when he played his last regular season game, a win against my giants...
                  Eddie Collins?
                  Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
                  Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
                  Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
                  Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
                  Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by giantsrule View Post
                    i was there when he played his last regular season game, a win against my giants...
                    That's what you call EARLY interleague play
                    Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
                    Good traders: MadHatter(2), BoofBonser26, StormSurge

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally Posted by Domenic
                      From 1995 through the present, approximately 65% of scouts are situated in the United States. The other 35% have been situated in Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, South Korea, Panama, and Taiwan.
                      In 2004 a family friend visited Australia with her then 13 yo son to play in an international club baseball competition in Sydney. The competition was organised by a scout from the Cubs who actually resides in Australia. I presume that other clubs also have scouts who reside here, especially as the MLB has an Academy in Queensland.
                      "A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz." ~Humphrey Bogart

                      No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference. ~Tommy Lasorda

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Fuzzy Bear with some baseball knowledge. :applaud:

                        Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
                        3,000 hits is, I grant you, a last-ditch HOF standard. 3,000 hits is the HOF standard for a player who doesn't have much else going for him, even more so than 500 HRs.

                        I grant you that Dave Kingman would not have gotten into the HOF if he made it to 500 career jacks. But Kingman was never going to make it to 500 jacks anyway. The reason was simple: Kingman got to the point where the only thing he could do was occasionally hit a HR. His Offensive Winning Percentage was a mere .340, all of that due to his HR total. (I believe that Kingman had the lowest OWP/Homers ratio for any player in history that went to bat 300 times or more in a season; certainly, he's the worst for any player who racked up 500 ABs in a season.) His walk total dropped by 29 from 1985 to 1986. The reason for this is simple: Kingman lost the ability to put the bat on the baseball to the point where pitchers had every incentive to throw strikes to Kingman and take their chances.

                        The idea that Kingman could have held on for a few more seasons if only he hadn't sent a dead rat to female sportswriter Susan Fornoff is ludicrous. Guys who post OWPs of .340 don't get regular play unless they're Ozzie, Maz, or Rabbit. If you were the 1987 Oakland A's, would you DH an aging Ozzie Smith? Or Rabbit Maranville? Or Bill Mazeroski? Of course you wouldn't. DH types who post .340 OWPs stink, and their stinkiness is evident to any and all who are in a position to (A) give the player valuable ABs and (B) pay them to be on their team.

                        It's the same with Damon. Damon is cranking it out in the low .600s for OWP in his good years (he's .559) lifetime. He can still steal bases and run, and he still has a bit of power for a top-of-the-order type hitter.

                        If Damon loses significantly more of his speed, his playing time will be extinguished to where he will not reach 3,000 hits. He's in the 3K discussion because he had a very good year in 2008; a year in which he posted many numbers above his averages, and which ensured his status as a full-timer going into next year. Despite a fateful error down the stretch last year, Damon has become a more viable option in CF than Melky Cabrera (CF prospect Austin Jackson is a year away). He's going into next season as a regular.

                        If Damon has a bad year next year, he could extinguish his chances for 3K hits. Certainly, if Damon hits .250, gets hurt, loses his power, and/or declines to the point where he is viewed as a 1B/DH type, he's not going to get enough playing time the rest of the way to get to 3,000. And, in that event, Damon will not make the HOF.

                        But if Damon retains his ability next year, and keeps playing at or near his current level through age 39, he'll stay in the lineup, and he'll get his 3K hits. I've said this before, but I'll repeat it: Ability retention is a sign of greatness. A player who can retain most of his ability to the point where he can play regularly well past age 35 is a player who is working on a GREAT career. There are very few players who are not great players who play into their 40s, and NONE I can think of that made it to 3,000 hits (or even 500 HRs, for that matter) that is not, upon consideration, a player who had a great career.

                        Indeed, the 3,000 hit milestone is a separation milestone. The guys who aren't truly great all fall short, and that includes Harold Baines, Julio Franco, Doc Cramer, Al Oliver, and a few others. I suspect that, in the end, Damon will be amongst that crowd. But I also believe that it's not mere perseverance, nor perseverance coupled with owner sentimentality that keeps guys like Damon in the lineup on the long march to 3K. It's ability retention, and ability retention is one measure of greatness.

                        I know some folks here just refuse to see this. I hope I've made this clear to the truly open-minded.

                        Let's look at Kingman's last season. Firstly, he was 37, so he was aging. Second, he was a defensive liability, even at 1B, so he HAD to DH. Lastly, Kingman had NO offensive skills that were of major league caliber, other than hitting HRs.

                        People say about Mark McGwire freqently: "All McGwire did was hit home runs!" It's untrue, and more; it's high-order ignorance. But the same statement can be made about Dave Kingman, and for the last two (2) years of his career it was DEFINITELY true. Kingman hit .210 in 1986, with 35 HRs, but only 33 walks. That's a .255 OBP.
                        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A great response by diggs to Fuzzy Bear's post. Excellent work gentleman.

                          Originally posted by digglahhh View Post
                          Great post, FB.

                          I just want to play a bit of devil's advocate, or offer a bit of caveat here. Ability retention is a sign of greatness, I agree. However, it is only one sign. Potentially, it is only a proxy, as it may eventually be in the case of Damon.

                          In the theoretical, there are two paths for how a player can weather the decline in his skill to the point that he reaches a milestone equated with both longevity and greatness. One is common, the other isn't.

                          The first way one can do this is to be so good in your prime that a)you do most of the work needed for the milestone before your decline, and b)you have ample room to fall off and still be successful. If Albert Pujols is 3 standard deviations above the average major league player, his productivity can drastically drop, by his own standards, and he'll still remain a viable option productivity-wise for a MLB team (at some point, it becomes more financially sound to play a young guy, but that's a whole other can of worms). Anyway, most guys reach the 3,000, 300 and the 500 milestones this way. They are firmly HOF caliber for the meat of the run, begin to fall off but still stay good enough to play to flesh out most of the number, and maybe limp briefly to the finish line.

                          However, Damon's case would be different. Damon was, at his very best, a borderline-HOFer. His best seasons look like those outside of the prime of a HOFer (would have been different if he was Richie Ashburn in the field). Anyway, Damon could be the anomalous type who had only notably above average skill in his prime, but retained a greater proportion of it over a longer period of time than is remotely common. If he reaches 3,000, this will be the case. And, this is why Damon makes an interesting discussion. His theoretical 3,000 profile would be one we are not accustomed to seeing, and we're trying to make sense of it.
                          The bolded part is a nuanced and subtle historical point.
                          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I find myself disagreeing with digglah about 60% of the time (most often on off-topic stuff, so I don't respond), but I relish reading his posts. He's clearly intelligent and has a facility with words. Not surprised to find his work represented here.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Nice post Mike90. Mike90 is repsonding to the idea that Bob Fell could have won 330 games absent World War II.

                              Originally posted by Mike90 View Post
                              That's a pretty big leap IMO. At the rate that Cleveland was using him, I doubt Feller would have had the longevity to win 300. Here are Feller's seasonal innings, complete games, strikeouts, and walks before the war:

                              (1938) 19 years old, 278 IP, 20 CG, 240 K, 208 BB
                              (1939) 20 years old, 297 IP, 24 CG, 246 K, 142 BB
                              (1940) 21 years old, 320 IP, 31 CG, 261 K, 118 BB
                              (1941) 22 years old, 343 IP, 28 CG, 260 K, 194 BB

                              Can you imagine how many pitches he was throwing? Not only was he throwing an immense amount of innings (4 straight 275+ inning seasons and 2 with at least 320), he was throwing more pitches per inning because of all the strikeouts and walks. Before the war, and before turning 23, Feller led the league in innings pitched, strikeouts, and walks 3 times each, and games started and complete games twice each.

                              All those pitches would wear out anyone, and he was throwing them as a young man when his arm was still developing. If anything, the war helped Feller by protecting him from over-pitching. When he came back from the war, he threw an amazing 371 innings with 36 CG, 348 K, and 153 BB; all of those numbers led the league by wide margins. After that monster season, Feller went on a steady decline and had his last durable and good season (at least 200 innings with an ERA+ of 115) at the age of 31. He won only 36 games over his last 5 seasons and was out of baseball at 37 years old.

                              It's hard to believe Feller won 266 games considering how Cleveland used him. 330 wins without the war is very unlikely.
                              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                              Comment

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