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Was Walker's '97 One of the Biggest Fluke Seasons Ever?

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  • Was Walker's '97 One of the Biggest Fluke Seasons Ever?

    I know it was considered more of a 'career year' than an actual 'fluke' season, but a closer examination reveals that Larry walker in 1997 possibly had the biggest fluke season in major league history. While not much better overall than some of his other years, 1997 was unique in that he actually was better on the road than at home. This was so unusual for Walker, that when one campares his road stats that year to his road averages for his career it is laughable:

    Walker road stats 1997:

    .346 .443 .733

    Career:

    .278 .370 .495

    This is more than just a great hitter having a career year. This is a good/very good hitter having an absolute monster year. I think this season should rank up there with Norn cash in 1961, Luis Gonzalez in 2001, and Adrian Beltre in 2003 as one of the biggest fluke seasons ever.

  • #2
    Originally posted by willshad View Post
    Walker road stats 1997:

    .346 .443 .733
    Those road numbers do jump out at you when you realize that his 1996 road numbers looked hideously like this! :
    .142 .216 .307

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dgarza View Post
      Those road numbers do jump out at you when you realize that his 1996 road numbers looked hideously like this! :
      .142 .216 .307
      Well that's just a fluke bad season. Just like players can have fluke great seasons they can fluke bad seasons as well. Was Walker injured in 1996? He did hit .393 at home but played just 83 games total.
      Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
        Well that's just a fluke bad season. Just like players can have fluke great seasons they can fluke bad seasons as well. Was Walker injured in 1996? He did hit .393 at home but played just 83 games total.
        I guess he had two fluke seasons in a row (they just were opposite extremes).
        I'm guessing he was hurt since his avergaes were so down.

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        • #5
          Pretty amazing that he hit better away from Coors, one of the few Rockies who did.
          Although in 1998 his stats return to more normal numbers (missed some games due to injuries).

          1998 Road:
          AB's: 215
          Hits: 65
          HR: 6!
          RBI: 23
          AVG/OBP/SLG: .302/.403/.488

          Yes id say his 97 was a big fluke, although he was unlucky that all his seasons around 97 were troubled by injuries.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by willshad View Post
            I know it was considered more of a 'career year' than an actual 'fluke' season, but a closer examination reveals that Larry walker in 1997 possibly had the biggest fluke season in major league history. While not much better overall than some of his other years, 1997 was unique in that he actually was better on the road than at home. This was so unusual for Walker, that when one campares his road stats that year to his road averages for his career it is laughable:

            Walker road stats 1997:

            .346 .443 .733

            Career:

            .278 .370 .495

            This is more than just a great hitter having a career year. This is a good/very good hitter having an absolute monster year. I think this season should rank up there with Norn cash in 1961, Luis Gonzalez in 2001, and Adrian Beltre in 2003 as one of the biggest fluke seasons ever.
            One issue that I believe to be true with Rockies hitters at least prior to the humidor era is that they obviously struggled when they WENT on the road. The Rockies always had terrible offensive outputs for 2-4 games after a homestand. They got used to hitting everything rather than their pitches, and then on the road, those became routine fly balls.

            My point is that Walker's road numbers were probably supressed.

            Even if they weren't, the .278/.370/.495 line on the road is pretty good. If I remember correctly, it would equate to about a .290/.390/.515 overall career line because hitters ALL do worse on the road somewhat. I believe that all percentages take about a 4% cut on the road versus the overall numbers.

            .290/.390/.515 over a career of just under 2000 games is fairly close to the rates of say Chipper Jones: .310/.406/.549 and Jones has yet to have a decline period with the bat and did it in a fairly good offensive environment.

            If Walker DID in fact suffer a Coors field hangover to any degree the projections look even better.


            It COULD definitely be argued that Walker hit POORLY at home in '97 relative to what he should have done and that is another issue. No matter how good a hitter is there is a limit to how good they can be and Walker really had an ordinary year at home for him.

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            • #7
              I wouldn't call it a fluke season. He had lots of other good seasons aside from 1997.

              In 1999, he slugged .710 and won a batting title; and 2001 his OPS+ was 160.

              It was a career year, not a fluke.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by redban View Post
                I wouldn't call it a fluke season. He had lots of other good seasons aside from 1997.

                In 1999, he slugged .710 and won a batting title; and 2001 his OPS+ was 160.

                It was a career year, not a fluke.

                The difference is that by 1999 he was just like every other Rockies player, doing all of his damage at home. His road rates in 1999 were good, but not great : .286 .375 .519.

                At home in 1999 his home rates were .461 .531 .879. Yes, that is a 1.410 OPS.

                He was batting pretty close to .500 at home, and I believe for most of the season he WAS hitting over .500 at Coors.!!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by willshad View Post
                  The difference is that by 1999 he was just like every other Rockies player, doing all of his damage at home. His road rates in 1999 were good, but not great : .286 .375 .519.

                  At home in 1999 his home rates were .461 .531 .879. Yes, that is a 1.410 OPS.

                  He was batting pretty close to .500 at home, and I believe for most of the season he WAS hitting over .500 at Coors.!!!
                  OK in '97 Walker's road OPS+ compared to all players on the road was 220, and his home OPS+ given a home park of Coors was 141 so perhaps he underperformed at home that year relative to his ability at the time.

                  Here are some of Walker's fully adjusted home and road OPS+ scores:

                  Year: home/road
                  1995: 131 to 131
                  1997: 141 to 220
                  1998: 171 to 145
                  1999: 189 to 135
                  2001: 157 to 163
                  2002: 149 to 153
                  2003: 130 to 112
                  unweighted average:
                  Home: 152.3
                  Road: 151.3

                  So his home and road OPS+s adjusted for home field advantage, and ballparks played in are virtually identical for his 7 healthy seasons in Colorado, but his '97 OPS+ was WORSE than in his average healthy season in CO.

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                  • #10
                    what the hell was so "flukey" about Beltre in 2003?


                    oh, you mean 2004, don'tcha?

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                    • #11
                      I would like to add that Walker's road OPS+ of 220 may look slightly fluky compared to seasons of 163, 153, 145, 135 and 131 around that season, but '97 was really the only year that Walker was 100% healthy in his whole career. Walker was also a legit gold glove right fielder who could handle centerfield, and was regarded by some, including Tony Gwynn as the best all around baserunner in the league at the time. .9 of his war came from a high steal rate, advances on the bases and avoiding double plays. Piazza was -5 runs on the bases that year. That's 1.4 WAR just from baserunning and consider that an average corner outfielder only produces about 1.4-1.6 more offensive WAR than an average full time catcher so the baserunning neutralizes the positional edge. Then you have a great fielder versus a below average one.

                      Here's another tidbit. Walker had a 220 road OPS+ and a 141 home OPS+ and Piazza was about 210 at home and 160 on the road and for two guys with virtually identical career OPS+'s I think it would be pushing it to call one a fluke and not the other.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Piazza's home OPS+ may have been fluky that year, but his road numbers were actually not very good for him. I suppose the same could be said about Walker, only vice versa. It's interesting how polar opposite these two guys are.

                        Still would have given Piazza the MVP though, due to the historic nature of his season. I think if he had played in Coors, you can add Walker's 1997 road stats to his 1999 home stats, and that would have been a typical Piazza season.
                        Last edited by willshad; 07-07-2012, 11:43 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by willshad View Post
                          Piazza's home OPS+ may have been fluky that year, but his road numbers were actually not very good for him. I suppose the same could be said about Walker, only vice versa. It's interesting how polar opposite these two guys are.

                          Still would have given Piazza the MVP though, due to the historic nature of his season. I think if he had played in Coors, you can add Walker's 1997 road stats to his 1999 home stats, and that would have been a typical Piazza season.
                          A difference between Walker is that park adjusted his home OPS+ was 142 and his road OPS+ was 140
                          Piazza's home adjusted was 134 and road was 152. He was hurt by his home park not just in absolute production, but in relative production as well.

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                          • #14
                            He put up some mighty juicy numbers that year.
                            They call me Mr. Baseball. Not because of my love for the game; because of all the stitches in my head.

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                            • #15
                              I must have been looking at another season. Piazza was actually about 190 on the road and 180 at home.

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