Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Good Idea, Bad Idea-Biggio And The Hall of Fame

Wow, it’s been a while.  There’s practically dust on here it’s been so long since I’ve done a post.  But, enough of that, let’s get to what I know really well, the Hall of Fame.

Since we last spoke, I revamped my study and took many things into account when looking at each and every player in the HoF.  Not to toot my own horn, but I feel as if I am an expert in the field compared to others, mostly because I have studied the numbers a lot and dove very hard into the analysis of every player.

This ballot coming up is an exciting one.  Here are the first time eligible players on the 2013 HoF Ballot:
 Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Kenny Lofton, David Wells, Julio Franco, Shawn Green, Steve Finley, Roberto Hernandez, Jeff Cirillo, Jose Valentin, Reggie Sanders, Jeff Conine, Jose Mesa, Royce Clayton, Bob Wickman, Ryan Klesko, Aaron Sele, Woody Williams, Rondell White, Mike Lieberthal, Tony Batista, Mike Stanton, Sandy Alomar Jr., Damian Miller, Todd Walker

Boy, are there some big names on that list.  And that is just the new guys.  Obviously, it’s an exercise in futility to go through each name to determine hall worthiness.  I plan on going over the first 7 guys on this ballot, along with some returning guys, before inductions are announced.

And, given the fact that there is currently an article on MLB.com about him discussing his chances for the Hall, let’s start with Craig Biggio.

Go here to find his stats, both standard and advanced.

Good Idea: I’ll just get the big one out of the way, he had 3000 hits.  3060 hits to be exact.  He also had a good average, played multiple challenging positions (most famously catcher and second base).  As a second baseman, he had really good secondary abilities (good OBP and really really good SLG) so he was a top offensive second baseman in his time.  I’d probably say that, outside of Ryne Sandberg, I don’t think there was necessarily a better offensive second baseman.  Maybe Kent, and I’d probably give you that one, but he should have been playing first base most of his career.  It’s probably because of guys like Biggio and Sandberg and Kent that we have guys like Cano and Utley as big time hitters at second base.  He created a lot of runs, and did so at a pretty high frequency for a guy at secondbase and catcher.

Bad Idea: Why does everyone bring up the 3000 hits?  It’s a nice round number, but it took him 12000+ PAs to get there!  That’s a long time to get there, and it was pretty obvious his last few years that he was just trying to get to that number.  His OBP was good, but also 10 points below that of a HoF second baseman.  His career WAR compares nicely to 2B (despite being 4 fewer than typical), but he only had a few GREAT seasons (years with 5+ WAR), and one outstanding year (had a 9+ season once).  He was a really good player for a long period of time, but not a great player.

Verdict: In my new system of grading for the HoF, he would get a B against all second basemen, ranking just slightly ahead of Jackie Robinson.  When it comes down to it, Biggio created a lot of runs, played tough positions, and played a long time.  While I’m not fond of that last attribute, the other two are more important to me.  I’d gladly let Biggio into the Hall, from either a SABR or a traditional standpoint.  I just wouldn’t use “3000 hits!” as my opening line.

More to come soon folks.  This felt great.

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