Whatever happened to the Hall… oh, can't use that?

By now, you’ve probably heard that the Baseball Hall of Fame will be welcoming two new members in a few months.  Rickey Henderson, a man who had a career .401 OBP, which is a) good, b) never mentioned, and c) oddly puts him behind Brian Giles (.403) for his career so I suppose we should start printing “Giles for the Hall” t-shirts… anyway, Rickey made it in.  Oh yeah, Rickey stole some obscene number of bases.  But, much in the same way that Cy Young is the all-time losing-est pitcher in baseball history, Rickey Henderson is the all-time leader in being caught stealing. 

To his credit, he was an 80% base stealer, which is above break-even.  But let’s see about something for a minute, Is it just that Rickey liked to run.  Let’s look at a little toy formula (SB + CS) / (1B + BB + HBP), which is roughly “percentage of time on first base in which the player tried to steal.”  There are other ways to first, and other bases to steal than second, but let’s stick to this for a moment.  Limiting ourselves to those with more than 250 AB in a season, Henderson comes in with the 2nd (1982), 17th (1983), and 23rd (1986) most steal-happy seasons.  Ever.  (He has #51 and #66 as well.)  For his career, he’s the 18th most steal-happy guy ever (min 1000 career AB).  If you’re wondering the names ahead of him include Miguel Dilone (#1, 59%), Vince Coleman (#2, 57%), Jose Reyes (7), Deion Sanders (8), and Scott Podsednik (16).  Henderson had a “go rate” of roughly 39%.

With the exception of Reyes, those guys are all low OBP, high speed guys.  I once summed up Luis Castillo as “his 50 SB represent him stealing second and third after the 25 times he managed to make it to first base.”  Henderson stole a lot of bases.  Yes, he was a pretty good base stealer, but he was also a good hitter who got on base a lot and liked to run when he got there.  And he was fast.  And he could hit a few HR.  Yes, the SB totals are nice, but let’s appreciate Rickey for what he was.  A pretty good hitter.

Jim Rice made it in.  My father has a simple phrase for times like these.  “I think that’s nice.”  The only word which seems to be used in Jim Rice’s defense is “fear.”  Every article I’ve come across calls him “the most feared hitter of his age.”  Why then, is he only in the top ten of one category all time: grounding into double plays?  Then again, the five guys ahead of him (Ripken, Aaron, Yaz, Winfield, and Murray) are all in the Hall.  Look, if “fear” is all it takes to get into the Hall, then there should be a lot more players in the Hall.

Once upon a time, I taught a few undergrad classes.  The hardest things to do in teaching is to be able to look someone in the eye and tell them that they didn’t make the cut.  You have to have a killer instinct to give someone an F and more and more, people seem to be averse to saying, “You tried hard, but you just didn’t make it.”  This is why we have grade inflation.  I think that HOF voters are falling prey to the same pressure.  Seeing that this was Rice’s last chance, they voted him in.  I think the fear that Jim Rice inspired was actually in the heads of the writers who didn’t want to feel like they “robbed” Rice of some sort of accomplishment.

Bert Blyleven didn’t make it in.  But then neither did Jack Morris.  We still love you Bert.

But the most fun part of the annual HOF balloting are the random guys who get a vote or two.  This year, the honors go to Jay Bell, and Jesse Orosco.  Two separate people actually looked at Jay Bell and said, “This guy was a Hall of Famer.”  Please re-read that sentence.

Jay Bell did hit the first pitch he ever saw in a Major League game for a home run, off Bert Blyleven no less, for whom he had been traded.  (Oddly enough, I specifically remember listening to that home run when I was six.)  Bell put up a career .265/.343/.416 line over 18 years.  He never really embarassed himself in the field, but was never a wizard with the glove.  Doesn’t your favorite team have about five of those guys right now?  In fact, in 2008, the average Major Leaguer hit .264/.333/.416.  We’re now down to rewarding mediocrity?

And then there’s the curious case of Jesse Orosco.  He’s a guy with a career 3.16 ERA who had a good K-rate, and even though he had a reputation as a LOOGY, his career splits against righties were .230/.320/.353.  Not a bad pitcher to have around, which is why he played until he was 46 and holds the record for pitching in the most games.  (He even played right field once!)  Good career, but certainly not Hall-worthy.  Perhaps since the “door has been broken down” for closers to enter with the enshrinements of Goose Gossage and Bruce Sutter, maybe someone was trying to make a stand for left-handed people everywhere and break down the door (which was probably hung with the knob on the right side) for LOOGYs everywhere.  I guess.

Yeah, another year in the Hall of Fame voting.

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Whatever happened to the Hall… oh, can’t use that?

By now, you’ve probably heard that the Baseball Hall of Fame will be welcoming two new members in a few months.  Rickey Henderson, a man who had a career .401 OBP, which is a) good, b) never mentioned, and c) oddly puts him behind Brian Giles (.403) for his career so I suppose we should start printing “Giles for the Hall” t-shirts… anyway, Rickey made it in.  Oh yeah, Rickey stole some obscene number of bases.  But, much in the same way that Cy Young is the all-time losing-est pitcher in baseball history, Rickey Henderson is the all-time leader in being caught stealing. 

To his credit, he was an 80% base stealer, which is above break-even.  But let’s see about something for a minute, Is it just that Rickey liked to run.  Let’s look at a little toy formula (SB + CS) / (1B + BB + HBP), which is roughly “percentage of time on first base in which the player tried to steal.”  There are other ways to first, and other bases to steal than second, but let’s stick to this for a moment.  Limiting ourselves to those with more than 250 AB in a season, Henderson comes in with the 2nd (1982), 17th (1983), and 23rd (1986) most steal-happy seasons.  Ever.  (He has #51 and #66 as well.)  For his career, he’s the 18th most steal-happy guy ever (min 1000 career AB).  If you’re wondering the names ahead of him include Miguel Dilone (#1, 59%), Vince Coleman (#2, 57%), Jose Reyes (7), Deion Sanders (8), and Scott Podsednik (16).  Henderson had a “go rate” of roughly 39%.

With the exception of Reyes, those guys are all low OBP, high speed guys.  I once summed up Luis Castillo as “his 50 SB represent him stealing second and third after the 25 times he managed to make it to first base.”  Henderson stole a lot of bases.  Yes, he was a pretty good base stealer, but he was also a good hitter who got on base a lot and liked to run when he got there.  And he was fast.  And he could hit a few HR.  Yes, the SB totals are nice, but let’s appreciate Rickey for what he was.  A pretty good hitter.

Jim Rice made it in.  My father has a simple phrase for times like these.  “I think that’s nice.”  The only word which seems to be used in Jim Rice’s defense is “fear.”  Every article I’ve come across calls him “the most feared hitter of his age.”  Why then, is he only in the top ten of one category all time: grounding into double plays?  Then again, the five guys ahead of him (Ripken, Aaron, Yaz, Winfield, and Murray) are all in the Hall.  Look, if “fear” is all it takes to get into the Hall, then there should be a lot more players in the Hall.

Once upon a time, I taught a few undergrad classes.  The hardest things to do in teaching is to be able to look someone in the eye and tell them that they didn’t make the cut.  You have to have a killer instinct to give someone an F and more and more, people seem to be averse to saying, “You tried hard, but you just didn’t make it.”  This is why we have grade inflation.  I think that HOF voters are falling prey to the same pressure.  Seeing that this was Rice’s last chance, they voted him in.  I think the fear that Jim Rice inspired was actually in the heads of the writers who didn’t want to feel like they “robbed” Rice of some sort of accomplishment.

Bert Blyleven didn’t make it in.  But then neither did Jack Morris.  We still love you Bert.

But the most fun part of the annual HOF balloting are the random guys who get a vote or two.  This year, the honors go to Jay Bell, and Jesse Orosco.  Two separate people actually looked at Jay Bell and said, “This guy was a Hall of Famer.”  Please re-read that sentence.

Jay Bell did hit the first pitch he ever saw in a Major League game for a home run, off Bert Blyleven no less, for whom he had been traded.  (Oddly enough, I specifically remember listening to that home run when I was six.)  Bell put up a career .265/.343/.416 line over 18 years.  He never really embarassed himself in the field, but was never a wizard with the glove.  Doesn’t your favorite team have about five of those guys right now?  In fact, in 2008, the average Major Leaguer hit .264/.333/.416.  We’re now down to rewarding mediocrity?

And then there’s the curious case of Jesse Orosco.  He’s a guy with a career 3.16 ERA who had a good K-rate, and even though he had a reputation as a LOOGY, his career splits against righties were .230/.320/.353.  Not a bad pitcher to have around, which is why he played until he was 46 and holds the record for pitching in the most games.  (He even played right field once!)  Good career, but certainly not Hall-worthy.  Perhaps since the “door has been broken down” for closers to enter with the enshrinements of Goose Gossage and Bruce Sutter, maybe someone was trying to make a stand for left-handed people everywhere and break down the door (which was probably hung with the knob on the right side) for LOOGYs everywhere.  I guess.

Yeah, another year in the Hall of Fame voting.

Is Omar Vizquel a Hall of Famer?

A few weeks ago, one of the questions offered in our weekly (World Famous) StatSpeak roundtable was whether or not Omar Vizquel was a Hall of Fame worthy candidate.  My answer was no, although I must say, I based it on stats like range factor, primarily because those data go back several years and are free to look at.  But, that was before OPA!, my new Retrosheet fielding system that I developed a little bit ago.  In running the 2007 numbers for OPA!, I noted that Vizquel, even at 40 years old was the best defensive  shortstop in baseball, rating 20+ runs saved over the league average shortstop.  If he’s doing that now in the twilight of his career, it made me wonder what he was doing in the middle of his career.
I started running previous seasons’ OPA! to see what I could find.  If Vizquel was saving a lot of runs with his glove, maybe on the order that the great hitters of all-time were producing with their bats, maybe Vizquel deserved a second look.  Vizquel premiered in 1989 with the Mariners and is still going in 2008 with the Giants, and has played most of his career at shortstop (an inning in right field in a very weird game notwithstanding).  So, it’s just a matter of downloading the last 20 years worth of Retrosheet data files and running the syntax. 
It’s never that easy.  I found a small problem with OPA!  I assumed that all of the old files would be as detailed in telling us what type of batted ball a batter hit (grounder, fly ball, liner).  The problem is that this level of detail was only present from 1993-1999 and 2003-2007.  Fortunately, that’s most of Vizquel’s career, but unfortunately, that a few good years of Vizquel’s career.  Oh poop!
The OPA! syntax that I wrote treats each batted ball type separately, and while the files in the early 90’s and early 2000’s note that an out was a groundball to short or a line drive, we are left to wonder if a hit to left was a liner or a seeing eye single.  That makes a difference because in assigning blame, ground balls are easier to field than line drives.  But, even still, perhaps we can get some idea of what Vizquel’s contribution has been in this generation of shortstops with the available data.  I took the results from the years with detailed enough files.  Here’s what I found for Vizquel, starting in 1993, when the numbers become readable.
year  OPA! runs  lg rank (min 450 IP at SS)
1993  6.51           8th
1994  -0.71         12th
1995  8.96           5th
1996 -3.57           21st
1997  15.07          3rd
1998  5.13            13th
1999  22.27          3rd
2000  ???
2001  ???
2002  ???
2003  6.29           7th
2004  -5.23         30th
2005  3.29          11th
2006  -0.33        17th
2007  23.18        1st
Vizquel has had a few good years, but in most of the years that we can glimpse, he wasn’t much more than a somewhat-above-average shortstop.  Not a bad shortstop, to be sure, but not one that was completely altering a game.  In fact, in his best years he was really only worth 20 runs or so above the average fielder.  Let’s for a moment be generous and say that Vizquel was saving 20 runs above average per season with his glove, not only in those missing years, but consistently throughout all of his years in the big leagues.  In 2007, the list of players who had around 20-22 batting runs above average included Michael Young, B.J. Upton, Chone Figgins, Carlos Lee, Garrett Atkins, and Edgar Renteria.  All of them good players, most of them deserving All-Stars, but also a list of people who will probably be members of the Hall of “Oh yeah, I sorta remember him, he was pretty good,  I guess.”  Don’t believe me?  In 1987, the list of those who put up 20-22 batting runs above average included Kevin Bass, Carney Lansford, Chili Davis, Danny Tartabull, and Kevin Mitchell.  I rest my case.
Interestingly enough, in researching Vizquel’s performance, another shortstop poked his head into the mix and got me thinking, if Vizquel’s getting mention for the Hall of Fame based on his defense (as “the greatest defensive shortstop of this era”), why isn’t this other guy?  He debuted in 1990 (a year after Vizquel) and played until 2003 and like Vizquel has a career OPS+ of 83 (so both were clearly making it by on their defense.)  By about 2001, our mystery man was reduced to part-time or utility guy duty, so his numbers of total runs saved probably went down, as you can see from his 2003 numbers.  He also didn’t really start playing full time until 1992.
His numbers (and yes, I’m being evasive about who the gentleman is) in the available years:
year  OPA! runs  league rank
1993 4.05            11th
1994  6.31            9th
1995  2.19            12th
1996  8.36            8th
1997  16.90          2nd
1998  20.74          1st
1999  25.82          2nd
2000  ???
2001  ???
2002  ???
2003  0.55           21st
In the mid- to late-90s, when Vizquel was supposedly cementing his reputation as one of the game’s best defensive shortstop and winning several Gold Gloves (Vizquel won the AL shortstop Gold Glove every year from 1993-2001, then won two more in the NL with the Giants in 2005 and 2006) he wasn’t all that great and there was someone who was pretty consistently outperforming him.   For a couple years, our mystery man was actually one of the best defensive shortstops in the league, despite getting no recognition for it.  I bet that you didn’t know that about Mike Bordick.  After all, no one’s making the case for him to go into the Hall of Fame.
Oddly enough, I would love to see Omar Vizquel go into the Hall of Fame from a personal perspective.  I write these words from Cleveland where the man is still worshipped several years after he left the team.  He sure was flashy both on and off the field.  There’s the iconic picture of him leaping in the air after making a barehand-grab-and-throw that’s one of the most easily recognized images in the city.  But, over time, he just doesn’t bear out as one of the greats, even of his own era. 
So, I just can’t get behind an “Omar for the Hall” movement.  At least statistically speaking.

The Most Important Pitch: A Look at Greg Maddux and 1-1 Counts

There are twelve possible ball-strike counts in a given plate appearance.  Ranging from the initial 0-0 to the dramatic 3-2, these counts shift in favor of either the batter or the pitcher.  A 2-0 count favors the hitter; if the pitcher misses the count will run to 3-0.  Along similar lines, an 0-2 count favors the pitcher because the batter will theoretically be more likely to swing at junk in an effort to protect himself.
Of all twelve, Greg Maddux considers the 1-1 count to be of utmost importance.  Though some may spot the identical numbers and deem the count neutral, the linear weights run expectancy shows it favors the pitcher.  Missing on a 1-1 count shifts the momentum back towards the hitter whereas a successful 1-1 pitch can move the count’s favor further in the direction of the pitcher.  The 1-1 count brings with it a run expectancy of -0.012 from the batter’s perspective; a ball shifts it to +0.037 whereas a strike causes a jump to -0.079.  Maddux is right.
This is the third and final (for now) look at Greg Maddux’s theory and selection in certain situations using Pitch F/X data.  Previously, we have looked at Maddux’s “playbook” vs. Bengie Molina as well as his selection, location, and results in 0-2 counts, in which he does not like to throw waste pitches.  Here we are going to conduct a similar analysis to the 0-2 article but with regards to his 1-1 counts.  Be sure to note that not all of his starts were recorded by the Pitch F/X system last year.
Results
Maddux primarily throws his two-seam fastball, a changeup, and a cutslide. Though “slutter” sounds funnier for the combo cutter/slider, this blog has a PG rating… though nowadays even PG allows naughty words and innuendos.. anyway, back to baseball. Here is a breakdown of Maddux’s pitches and results to lefties and righties:
maddux11countresults.JPG
Since he has thrown more pitches to righties, seeing the percentages of pitches thrown to each batting handedness can help show discrepancies in either approach or selection. To righties, Maddux has thrown 58.9% fastballs, 25.2% changeups, and 15.9% cutslides; to lefties, 55.3% fastballs, 32.5% changeups, and 12.3% cutslides. Clearly, he uses the cutslide sparingly. Maddux has thrown three percent less fastballs to lefties, as well as three percent less cutslides; the difference has been made up with over six percent more changeups.
Location
Here is a location chart of his fastballs thrown to both lefties and righties, with lefties always on the left:
madduxfa11count.JPG
The biggest difference between results here is the amount of called strikes. When facing righties, Maddux has gotten many called strikes on 1-1 counts whereas he has just four when pitching to lefties. Though he clearly favors the outside corner to both types of batters, lefties have made contact with the corner pitches while righties seem to be more inclined to take the pitch. Due to his fastball having the tailing movement, righties tend to think pitches like this are outside; when it tails back to the outside corner for a strike it catalyzes many glances back at the umpire.
Here is a location chart of the changeups thrown:
madduxch11count.JPG
The results of his changeups thrown to each batting handedness do not differ too much; even if they did it is too small of a sample to garner anything worthwhile from. Despite this, the visualization helps us see that he has thrown a higher percentage of changeups in the strike zone and down the middle to righties; to lefties he continues to hit the outside corner. Regardless, the pitches that have worked the best for him in these situations have been changeups to lefties and all offspeed pitches to righties. Essentially, throwing it in the general vicinity of down the middle has not yet hurt him in 1-1 counts in the Pitch F/X era.
Location Results
No, I didn’t just combine the headings of the previous two sections no matter how much it may seem like that. Maddux’s fastball has not been particularly effective to lefties or righties in these counts. Therefore, I want to look at the nine zone sections–up and away, down and in, etc–and see what types of results his fastballs have produced. Unfortunately, small sample size syndrome has forced me to combine the nine sections into three: away, middle, in. Here are the results:
lhhrhh-locationresults.JPG
These are not large samples either but we can still discern some potential strategies to watch for over the remainder of the season. He has had his most success with the fastball away, to both types of hitters, even though righties have still done well with the balls in play. I hate even attempting to draw conclusions from these small samples, but based on the non-BIP results and the BIP results, it seems Maddux’s best chance at getting the 1-2 as opposed to the 2-1 would be to stick to his offspeed stuff (cutslide or changeup) but if he had to throw the fastball, make sure it is away to lefties and, more specifically, down and away to righties.

Waste This: An Analysis of Greg Maddux’s 0-2 Pitch Selection

Last week we took a look at a bunch of plate appearances between Greg Maddux and Bengie Molina, in an attempt to see if there were any discernable patterns or tendencies on the part of either participant.  Realistically, I was jumping the gun in conducting such an analysis; while there is not much to be determined from a small sample size of plate appearances it was definitely an interesting usage of the Pitch F/X data that could, in a few years, be a great approach to studying matchups.
One of the informational bits of tid mentioned throughout the course of the article dealt with Maddux’s supposed hatred of waste pitches.  He feels that wasting a pitch on an 0-2 count is nothing but counterproductive.  Intuition to most pitchers chimes in with the thought that batters are very protective on 0-2 counts and are therefore more likely to swing at pitches they would otherwise scoff at.
Now, wasting a pitch does not automatically refer to an extremely high fastball, or one that bounces twenty feet before home plate.  In many cases it simply refers to a pitch out of the zone in order to take advantage of being ahead of the hitter.  It could be in the dirt, and could be very high, but it does not have to be.  If the batter swings, great; if not, you did not plan for it to be a strike to begin with.
On a similar note, deciding against waste pitches does not automatically mean throwing 0-2 pitch right down broadway.  Instead, it could mean approaching the pitch with the same mindset as the 0-0, or 0-1 offering.  It could be treated with as much care as the perfectly placed outside two-seamer delivered on 0-0.
Greg Maddux differs from many pitchers in the sense that he has a ton of movement and can locate with absurd precision.  His two-seam fastball might feel like a waste pitch to certain batters until it tails back to the plate for a strike.  With that in mind I decided to take a look at all of his 0-2 pitches from 2007 until now–all that were recorded by the Pitch F/X system, at least–to see what he threw, where he threw it, and what happened.
What He Threw
Maddux found himself in 128 recorded 0-2 counts since April 2007.  Here is an overall breakdown of what pitchers were thrown:
overallpitches.JPG
I apologize for the freakishly large picture. Here is the same breakdown, split by the handedness of batters faced:
lhhrhhpitches.JPG
Against lefties he has been much more inclined to mix his pitches, throwing many more offspeed pitches. Against righties is has been predominantly fastballs. Where did these pitches go, though?
Where He Threw It
He did not throw many curveballs or “cutslides”–what we have decided to call Maddux’s cutter or slider–so they will be discarded. Here is a location chart of where the fastballs went to lefties and righties (lefties always on the left):
fastball.JPG
Against lefties Maddux has thrown the majority of his fastballs in the strike zone on 0-2 counts; they have also seemingly been more selective on those out of the zone. When he throws it to righties, though, he has favored the outside corner. The majority of pitches called balls have been very close to the plate, too, likely catalyzing boos from the home crowd when the batter is not rung up. Righties are also making contact (foul or in play) whenever the 0-2 pitch is in the zone.
Here are the location charts of his changeups in these waste pitch situations:
changeup.JPG
Though he has not thrown a ton of changeups in these counts it does appear he favors the outside corner. As mentioned in the Molina article from last week, he seemed genuinely fooled when the movement and location of Maddux’s fastball and changeup was as close to identical as possible.
Results
Now that we have seen the results of his fastballs and changeups in location chart form, let’s take a numerical look, broken up by batting handedness:
results.JPG
Throwing the fastball to righties has resulted in a .320 BA and a .600 SLG; due to the OBP being the same as his BA in these 0-2 counts, righties have an OPS of .920 against him when throwing fastballs. Last year, overall, righties had a .749 OPS against Maddux and all batters had just a .683 OPS on 0-2 counts. Due to this, it seems that throwing fastballs to righties on 0-2 counts has hurt him.
Linear Weights
Using the linear weights data that old colleague Mike Fast posted in his Francisco Liriano article from last month, here are the run values of each pitch from Maddux in these 0-2 counts:
lwts.JPG
The linear weights data confirms that the 0-2 fastballs to righties have hurt Maddux.  He has only thrown three total curveballs but they have an aggregate LWTS value of +.227, the only positively valued pitch.  Based on these findings it would seem that Maddux has been hurt by his 0-2 pitch selection.  I am not ready to make a claim of causation and say, point blank, that his poor 0-2 results are directly related to his supposed approach; rather, simply, that he has been hurt by 0-2 pitches.
In terms of the LWTS value per pitch, the cutslide has hurt Maddux the most to batters on both sides of the plate, despite just throwing ten of them.
For Saturday we will take a look at Maddux’s selection/results on the 1-1 pitch, the pitch he claims is the most important due to the swing in momentum between a 1-2 pitch and a 2-1 pitch.

Waste This: An Analysis of Greg Maddux's 0-2 Pitch Selection

Last week we took a look at a bunch of plate appearances between Greg Maddux and Bengie Molina, in an attempt to see if there were any discernable patterns or tendencies on the part of either participant.

The Batting Hall of Current

A topic that never ceases to cause debate in the baseball writing community is who does or does not belong in the hall of fame.  Most of the debate revolves around whether or not a player has “the numbers.”  The majority of those chiming in intuitively know what makes up a worthy player but, because no common denominator exists, we rever to statistical milestones in order to base judgments.  While this is not wrong, by any means, there are also those who possess the mindset that a healthy combination of solid stats and contributions to the game is a better way to gauge induction-worthiness.
I personally feel the hall of fame should work more along the lines of an historical document that will serve to inform future generations which players from the past are really worth knowing about.  The fact of the matter is that there are many different ideas and definitions about what the Cooperstown hall is or should be; this plethora of ideas is one of the key reasons we so fervently debate.
In my favorite baseball book (as of now) Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame? Bill James attempts to uncover what makes a hall of fame player as well as why Player A got in and Player B did not.  While he did not necessarily find a common denominator he did notice that a large percentage of those enshrined reached certain statistical milestones.  With that in mind he created a few tests to determine the likelihood of a player getting inducted.
The test I like to examine the most is the Hall of Fame Monitor.  For a full explanation click the link of the title, but it essentially weights different milestones and awards points as players positively distance themselves from said achievements.  Anyone with a score of 100+ is considered to have a shot; anyone with 130+ is considered a virtual shoe-in.  For instance, Ken Griffey Jr. currently has a 225 and Alex Rodriguez has a 316; based on what others currently inducted have done, these two players would be no-doubters if they retired today or tomorrow.
There are currently 35 batters with 100+ not yet eligible for induction.  I thought it might be fun to show them and get your thoughts on whether or not they are worthy, as well as why or why not.  If we can get enough of a response we’ll have an official fan ballot.  In just taking a cursory scan of these 35 I have a strong sense we will find some players with 130+ that are not necessarily worthy of induction based on the standards of some.  Here are the seven above 200:

  • Barry Bonds, 350
  • Alex Rodriguez, 316
  • Ivan Rodriguez, 228
  • Ken Griffey Jr, 225
  • Derek Jeter, 221
  • Mike Piazza, 205
  • Sammy Sosa, 201

The bookends of that list bring up the topic of steroids and magical performance elixirs (what I imagine Sesame Street would call PED’s) but I am only mentioning them due to a quota of PED mentions in articles in need of being reached.  Here are the players above 150:

  • Frank Thomas, 194
  • Roberto Alomar, 193
  • Manny Ramirez, 187
  • Rafael Palmeiro, 178
  • Vlad Guerrero, 174
  • Craig Biggio, 172
  • Ichiro Suzuki, 170
  • Albert Pujols, 166
  • Todd Helton, 162

It’s very interesting to see Albert Pujols and Vlad in there so highly due to them still having a nice portion of their careers left.  Here are the players above 130:

  • Jeff Bagwell, 149
  • Larry Walker, 147
  • Gary Sheffield, 146
  • Chipper Jones, 141
  • Jim Thome, 139
  • Bernie Williams, 133
  • Edgar Martinez, 131

And here are the players between 100 and 130:

  • Jeff Kent, 121
  • Nomar Garciaparra, 120
  • Juan Gonzalez, 120
  • Barry Larkin, 118
  • Miguel Tejada, 114
  • Andres Galarraga, 114
  • Omar Vizquel, 104
  • Andruw Jones, 101
  • Luis Gonzalez, 101
  • Carlos Delgado, 100
  • Magglio Ordonez, 100
  • Fred McGriff, 100

These are the 35 batters currently with Hall Monitor scores of 100+.  The players below the 130 mark are definitely more easily debatable so let’s focus the discussion on the players with scores higher than 130, the players James considers to be virtually assured at getting in.  I’d rather hear your thoughts and discuss this in the comments thread than sit here and ramble about my own personal beliefs but I do think that, steroids aside, the first seven players mentioned–those above 200–are all deserving, and very few, if any, of those below 130 are deserving.