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Wynn in the Hall?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by abacab
    We have a problem with most hitters from around 1970-present, then, because most of them have adopted the Jimmy Wynn approach of walk, walk, strikeout, strikeout, home run, strikeout. How many star players have had that approach? Reggie Jackson, Schmidt, Darrell Evans, Dwight Evans, Henderson, McGwire, Sosa, Thome. The logical conclusion is that hitters are just not as great as they used to be.
    There have also been many great offensive players since 1970 who could actually HIT also, though. Just looking at the last 20 years (off the top of my head) we have Boggs, Gwynn, Pujols, Vlad, Piazza, A-Rod, Chipper Jones, Helton, Manny, etc- those guys didn't have to rely on walks to have value because they were great outstanding hitters to begin with. Frank Thomas in the 1990's was that kind of player, and at the plate his decade was simply incredible.

    But (surprise surprise!) he's not approaching that level anymore since his skills have grealy eroded, he's 300 pounds, and he's turned into the type of insipid player you describe above of late. He's a vestige of what he once was.

    You're overgeneralizing above.


    • #17
      Originally posted by abacab
      We have a problem with most hitters from around 1970-present, then, because most of them have adopted the Jimmy Wynn approach of walk, walk, strikeout, strikeout, home run, strikeout. How many star players have had that approach? Reggie Jackson, Schmidt, Darrell Evans, Dwight Evans, Henderson, McGwire, Sosa, Thome. The logical conclusion is that hitters are just not as great as they used to be.

      These guys are very valuable baseball players. They help teams score runs and win games. I prefer guys who make better contact, but the bottom line is scoring runs. Secondary average is more closely correlated with runs scored than batting average, meaning that it is more valuable. Just because a player does not have a high batting average does not mean he does not put runs on the scoreboard. It is amazing how many people do not get this.


      • #18
        --Chris, most of the guys you use as your examples had high averages. Most of them did not walk much and/or did nor have much power. Very few players in the modern era (and not that many in an era) have the trifecta of power, patience and a high BA. There is generally a trade off of one (more) of those skills to increase the others.
        --There is a very interesting study in last weeks Hardball Times on the correlation between strikeouts and the value of ball in play. The finding was that the more a player strikes out the higher percentage of his balls in play turn into extra base hits. Not exactly a revolutionary finding, as most of us probably would have assumed that without running the numbers. Laying off marginal pitchs, even if they may be strikes, and swinging harder at pitches you like lead to more power, more walks and lower BA (plus more strikeouts).


        • #19
          Originally posted by csh19792001
          So Wynn was "at least ok" when he hit .207 for a full season in 1976 (or .203 in 1971)? In 76' Wynn had 37 extra base hits and a slugging of .367, yet he led the league in walks. The year before he'd also drawn an incredible 110 walks in only 130 games, but with a paltry .248 average and certainly undaunting .417 slugging.
          Yeah, Wynn still was a good hitter. He wasn't a good contact hitter, but still a good hitter. His .367 SLG doesn't prove he couldn't slug the ball. The reason his SLG is low is because of his batting average. His IsoSLG (SLG-BA, divided by league average of the same) was 139. Wynn was still a good power hitter, his SLG just didn't reflect it because his BA was so low.

          In terms of guys who weren't great hitters by any stretch of the imagination... Max Bishop and Eddie Yost also come to mind. They weren't even good hitters, but drew a ton of walks regardless. They were actually both pretty lousy hitters- no power and couldn't get hits to save their lives, but drew a ton of walks. Eddie Stanky is another.
          Eddie Yost actually had decent power. Griffith Stadium completely sapped it from him. Through 1953 he hit 52 home runs on the road and 3 on the road. When he finally got to play in a somewhat favorable park with the the Tigers, he hit 21 homers. If he had played there (or any other park but Griffith) his whole career he would have hit 20+ HRs consistently.

          But, anyway, back to the point. I will grant you that Bishop and Stanky really weren't good hitters outside of their walking. But, we have to ask ourselves? Why did they walk so much? Obviously, they had a good eye. But, if all they had was a good eye and absolutely no hitting skill, then the pitchers could have just lobbed it over the plate all day and struck them out. The point is that they still had to have some hitting skill in able to walk so much.

          Sure, Wynn had more power than them, but that isn't the point. People are trying to say he drew tons of walks because he was a feared/highly skilled hitter, but that obviously isn't the case. You don't have to be great to draw a ton of walks.
          You do have to have a good eye, and some minimum hitting skill. I'm not saying Wynn drew so many walks because he was feared per se (though he was early in his career), I'm saying he had a great skill of plate discipline. And this isn't a Willie Mays 1971 case where he no longer had skills. Wynn always had great plate discipline, especially in his prime. Look at his best season in 1969-he set the all time walks record. In Wynn's case, the reason he drew a ton of walks was because of a skill.

          If Wynn consistently hit the ball hard and solid (i.e., if he was a great hitter), he would have been able to manage higher than a .250 average for his career. Not only was not only poor for a so called "great hitter", but actually significantly worse than the average player (including pitchers, catchers, and shortstops) during the same timeframe.
          Chris, you can be a great hitter without being a great average hitter. And I've said it a million times-Wynn played in the Astrodome for crying out loud! I'm not saying he was a great contact hitter, I'm saying Babe Ruth would have trouble hitting .300 consistently in the Astrodome during the 1960s.

          As far as the splits, when will you realize home/road splits are just as flawed, probably moreso, than park factors? Look at Wynn's splits. He did do slightly better at home (about 4% better), but why did he do better? He struck out a lot more on the road and walked a lot more at home. Those two things are the real driving force to why Wynn did better at home. Take those away and he did about the same home and road. But, you have to remember that players almost always do better at home, just because of the crowd's effects on the game, not having to travel, etc. Look at historical winning percentages at home-they're like 57%, versus 42% on the road. The fact Wynn did slightly better at home really doesn't mean anything. Same with Joe Morgan.


          • #20

            "The numbers are what brought me here; as it appears they brought you."
            - Danielle Rousseau


            • #21
              Jimmy Wynn belongs in the HOF IMHO. The 'Toy Cannon' suffered through playing his prime years in a hitter's graveyard called the Astrodome. Later he played for the Dodgers at yet another pitching haven. His home park MUST be taken into consideration when looking at Jimmy Wynn's statistical career.

              I'm old enough to remember Wynn playing in his heyday. He was primarily a power/walk guy. He didn't hit for a particularly great BA, but BA is overated anyway. Jimmy walked alot because he was one of the very few Astros who WAS feared (maybe more respected) than the other Astro hitters. The opposing pitcher could pitch around Jimmy and take their chances with the next batter (Joe Morgan was on this team but batted ahead of Jimmy; as well, Joe wasn't a feared hitter in the Astrodome). Jimmy had the restraint and good eye to not swing at the pitches the pitcher wanted him to swing at. Speaking of Morgan, who also had the ability to get on-base, I would make a guess that it was Wynn driving him in most often.

              Wynn got on-base, saving an out. NOT making an out is the most precious commodity in walking Jimmy Wynn was preserving an out.

              If every batter in your line-up walks, not making an out, you will score an infinity of runs. If you're swinging away the runs will be limited.

              I did research about 2 years ago of all the AL League Champions from 1903 to 2003. 100 years. A pretty good size sample if you ask me. Logged it all on a spreadsheet. I was skeptical of the OBP being the leading reason for scoring runs. What I found was that, with very few exceptions, was that the league leading team in OBP was invaribly among the highest scoring teams in the league (quite a few were the league leaders). OBP is fueled by those teams willing to take the walk. Runs scored is how you win games. Yes, there are other important factors including pitching and defense.

              So, Jimmy Wynn was playing a great game of baseball. His {teams} downfall was that he was lacking in teammates that could take advantage of his being on base....take a look at his teamamates OBP. Atrocious for the most part. HE was being crushed by his TEAM.

              In addition, Wynn was a fine defensive OF'er with a very good arm. He also had speed to steal bases. He had a succession of serious injuries that robbed of some of his skills, espcially his throwing arm.

              His ONLY weakness was the overrated batting average. Big deal.

              I voted to put him in the HOF although I don't consider it an injustice that he is not BUT I don't think many on this board are giving him anywhere near the credit he deserves.

              Yankees Fan Since 1957


              • #22
                Originally posted by mac195

                Mac, I'm confused. What exactly are you trying to get across?

                Anyway, some members on here, in order to call Wynn a HOF level player, want Wynn to have "baseball greatness". Since I have been advocating Wynn for a long time both here an on other forums, I have come to read many articles on him and have learned quite a bit about his life as a man and a baseball player. Now, if you want "greatness" for Jim Wynn, I'll do my best to supply it to you.

                1.Jimmy Wynn was the first real star of the Houston franchise. He was a fan favorite at the Astrodome after his first full year in 1965 when he hit 25 home runs, stole 43 bases, and he also had 13 outfield assists. Because of his strong arm and great home run power for a very small man (5'9'', 170 lbs), he was nicknamed "the Toy Cannon". He was a fan favorite with the Astros for a long time, and is still embraced by old Astros fans as the franchise's first real star.

                2.Jimmy Wynn went on a huge power surge one week in 1967. From Astros' Daily:

                Wynn rebounded in 1967 with a power display that Houston fans would not be seen again for decades. On June 10, in front of his family and friends in Cincinnati, Wynn hit the longest home run in the history of Crosley Field. His blast was a titanic shot that cleared the 58-foot scoreboard in left-center field and bounced onto Interstate 75 outside the stadium. Just five days later, Wynn would set a team record by hitting three home runs in a game against the Giants in the Astrodome.

                3.Here's another excerpt from Astros' Daily:

                In those early years when the Astros had little distinction except the fact that they played indoors, Wynn was the star. They had other good players. They had a slick-fielding third baseman named Bob Aspromonte. They had future Hall of Famer Joe Morgan at second base for a while. They had Dierker and Bob Watson.

                They had an assortment of pieces, but they were years from winning with consistency.

                They sold what they had to the fans, and in Jimmy Wynn, they had someone special.

                He made the National League All-Star team in 1967. That night, he stood alongside Mays and Hank Aaron. He reminded Houston that it had arrived as a big-league city. He was the franchise's first real star, its first link with credibility.

                "Expansion teams are saddled with players other teams don't want," Astros president of baseball operations Tal Smith said. "Jimmy was the beginning of our scouting and player-development system. He had an enormous impact on the franchise."

                Jimmy Wynn never did become Willie Mays, but for a few years, he was one of baseball's best players.

                Until Nolan Ryan arrived, he was arguably the most popular player the Astros ever had

                Those are two examples I was able to really find. Please, everyone who is interested in Jimmy Wynn and his HOF case, please read this article:


                I hope that will make some people realize that Jim Wynn was more than just a line of statistics that happens to look real nice by these newfangled metrics because of his walks. I hope.


                • #23
                  An odd fact which illustrates a larger principle, though:
                  Jimmy Wynn led the league in walks in 1976. He hit .207 for a full season that year, which basically means that he went up there just trying to take pitches in order to draw a walk because he couldn't hit at all anymore. This is the essence of why OBP, though paraded as by far the most important baseline stat out there, in actuality is often very misleading. If Wynn had hit .290 that year instead of a horrific .207, the sabermetric automatons on here would probably still say he was "just as great".
                  Instead of picking out 2 years of Wynn's entire 14 or 15 year career to harp on, why don't you take a good hard look at WHY he may have had these two 'poor' years.

                  In 1976, Wynn was an 'old' 34 years old, playing for a new team, for a team that was well under .500, managed by one of the worst managers in baseball in Dave Bristol, in his next-to-last season (pretty much his last season). By this time in his career Wynn had endured a number of crippling injuries that had robbed him of his once great talent.

                  In 1971, despite playing almost an entire season, Wynn played the whole year with injuries that would have had another player on the DL.

                  So, take a look at his 'other' years besides '71 and '76 and tell me what you think.

                  One more thing, Wynn played overall better at home, right? Don't most players play overall better at home? So...what's your point? The Astrodome? Wynn knew he was not going to help the Astros by swinging at everything and trying to hit HRs in the 'Dome. What good are a bunch of well hit flyballs? They're outs. He was willing to take the walk. If the pitcher made a mistake, Wynn would pounce on it. On the road, out of the killer 'Dome, Wynn could afford to swing with a bit more power and probably wasn't as patient as he was at home. Consequently, he walked less and struck out more.
                  Bottom line, he adjusted to his home park, playing in a manner that could most benefit his team. Kind of like Mel Ott playing at home in the Polo Grounds taking advantage of his home park (in this case a short RF fence down the line).

                  It does no good to just 'look' at numbers without understanding what they are telling you.

                  Yankees Fan Since 1957


                  • #24
                    There are way too many guys in the HOF as is; we don't need any more guys who are borderline at very best (even using the debased standard that has been set of late).

                    Too many in the HOF? Agree Don't need any more borderline guys at the very best? Agreed.

                    "...even using the 'debased' standard that has been set of late"? If you don't understand them I would probably agree. Hanging on to an outdated and old fashioned mindset of BA being so great is probably worse yet.

                    The 'new' metrics provide us improved understanding of the numbers and give us more insight in which to draw our conclusions and define our opinions. They are not there to conclude nor define for us but assist us in understanding the overall picture or performance of what the numbers are telling us.

                    I work with stats every day of my life in my job. I HAD a mindset (closed) to new metrics and evaluation methods. Until I decide to look for myself, understand them, and determine whether they gave me insight that my old tried and true methods did.
                    Surprisingly, I found that they did. They gave me improved understanding of what the numbers were telling me. I now endorse them.

                    I'm 40 years older than '528380' is....and he's doing a great job of evaluating the numbers even if I don't always agree with his conclusions.
                    Last edited by yanks0714; 01-21-2006, 09:04 AM.

                    Yankees Fan Since 1957


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by mac195
                      Interesting... but does it really matter why a player walks a lot? The fact that he does makes him valuable.
                      I wholeheartedly agree that a player walking a lot helps his team. But it does help us by understanding why he walks a lot.

                      Yankees Fan Since 1957


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by dl4060
                        I wonder how many runs a team with an OBP of .400 and a league average SLG would score.
                        Very interseting point. See my post on the research I did from 1903 - 2003 AL Pennant winners.

                        Invaribly, with few exceptions (the 1906 White Sox for instance if I remember correctly, the Hitless Wonders) the pennant winning teams had among the leagues best OBP, oftentimes league leading, and seldom below 3rd best. This research I did on my own is why I changed from disdaining OBP and supporting BA to promoting OBP (and slugging).

                        OBP is, of course, not THE only reason for success (pitching, defense, bench, etc all play a part) but it IS a primary reason for scoring more runs...and scoring more runs than your opponent is what wins ball games.

                        Yankees Fan Since 1957


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by csh19792001
                          In terms of his greatness as a hitter, yes it does.
                          Let me ask you consider Roberto Clemente to be a great hitter?

                          Yankees Fan Since 1957


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by yanks0714
                            by walking Jimmy Wynn was preserving an out.
                            If every batter in your line-up walks, not making an out, you will score an infinity of runs.

                            If you're swinging away the runs will be limited.
                            Well, good thing he didn't swing away a lot, or he might be a big SO guy - oh wait, he was. The only categories he's in the top 50 in are walks and SO's. Just doesn't cut it for me.

                            Originally posted by yanks0714
                            He had a succession of serious injuries that robbed of some of his skills, espcially his throwing arm.
                            Well, so much for his "cannon" arm
                            Originally posted by yanks0714
                            His ONLY weakness was the overrated batting average. Big deal.
                            Or that he SO, had minimal power for a power hitter - HR's may have been down at the 'dome, but he couldn't even hit doubles, or triples - and I thought he had speed. Ever think that he doesn't even have 2000 hits, 300 HR's, 300 doubles, and for a great SB guy, he doesn't even have 250 (at a 69% success rate). What do you see in there that is so great?

                            Just because he was the first standout guy on their team, doesn't mean he deserves to be in the HOF. The Mariner's Mr. Mariner himself - Alvin Davis, and he was a good player, and the first star on the team, but he just don't cut it for induction. (No I'm not saying Davis was better than Wynn - he's not. I was just using him as an example.).


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by yanks0714
                              Let me ask you consider Roberto Clemente to be a great hitter?
                              He won 4 batting titles (not that many moderns have had more). He hit .317 in arguably the hardest era to hit for average in baseball history. Not considering league strength or career length, his relative BA is 24th alltime. If those variables were fully factored in, he'd probably be a top 15 alltime hitter for average.

                              When considering that he hit for an outstanding average, his 240 homeruns is very good (for that era) playing his entire career at Forbes Field (which depressed home runs by about 30% in comparison to the average park). Forbes was especially brutal on right handers, with its 365' left field line and 406' left field "power alley". A righty wasn't going to get cheap homeruns or benefit from trying to become one dimensional, pulling the ball every time up.

                              3000 hits in that era is also VERY impressive, especially considering he was killed after his age 37 season. He's STILL in the top 5 in most alltime offensive categories for the Pirates, who have been a franchise since 1882.

                              However, his K/BB ratio is lousy, though, and that's important to me, so he gets demarcated a great deal for it. Clemente was a very, very good (arguably great) hitter, but certainly not an alltime great.

                              In terms of hitting ability he was clearly superior to Wynn. And when I say hitting ability, that's actually getting base hits (as well as extra base hits). I'n not simply talking about lots of walks and a homerun once every 7 games.


                              • #30
                                --Forbes was a tough park for HR, but it wasn't a bad hitters park. It was a very good park for hitting for average and doubles and the best triples park in baseball. In 1961, for example, RH batters hit HR at only 58% of the league average, but hit singles at 104%, double at 102% and triples at 178%. Of course, Clemente would be affected by only half of those figures. He wasn't much of a HR hitter on the road either. Forbes, of course, wouldn't have had any effect on his walks (or lack thereof). He was a better hitter than Wynn, but is as overrated as Wynn is underrated.


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