What do we expect from Brandon Crawford in 2014?

Over at McCovey Chronicles, Grant Bisbee (@mccoveychron – a must follow even for the non SF Giant fans out there) has a piece today about Brandon Crawford, trying to offer some perspective on projecting him for 2014 and beyond (partially tongue in cheek).  I’m fascinated by Crawford — and I really don’t have a good reason why — but I feel like people miss the boat on him.

Everyone knows he plays elite defense at SS — his UZR ratings have him right in the mix with Elvis Andrus, Alexei Ramirez and most of the considered best shortstops in the game.  The question is the bat — as a 24-year-old in 2011, his wRC+ of 66 was near the bottom of SS in the league.  In 2012, he moved up to an 80, good for 17th among SS with at least 450 plate appearances, and in 2013 his 91 was good for 10th out of 18.

Grant looks at the projection for his wRC+ numbers, but for me, it seems as though we’re diminishing Crawford because of one simple fact:  he cannot hit left-handed pitching.  And when I say he can’t hit, I don’t mean for a slick fielding SS — I mean he literally can’t hit LHP.  In 2013, among 118 players with at least 150 plate appearances against LHP, Brandon Crawford’s wRC+ of 56 was 113th.

On the bright side, Crawford against RHP in 2013 hit 269/333/394 (in an extreme pitchers park), good for a wRC+ of 106.  The 106 number doesn’t strike you as worldbeating, but at SS it’s fairly impressive regardless of what you’re doing on defense.  In Jean Segura’s breakout 2013 campaign, he managed a 97 wRC+ against RHP.   JJ Hardy and Yunel Escobar were even lower, at 95 and 93 respectively.  Jhonny Peralta and Asdrubal Cabrera, hit first shortstops, posted near identical 106 and 104s.

So, ultimately, Brandon Crawford is a gold glove caliber defensive player, whose offense numbers as a whole look worse than they should because his defensive abilities force him to take 200 plate appearances every year that he shouldn’t take.   Hitting left-handed pitching matters, so we can’t ignore it, but for my money, Brandon Crawford entering his age 27 season is a guy who is already above average (factoring in both offense and defense), and is clearly behind Tulo, Desmond and Hanley Ramirez.  But beyond that, what SS are better than Crawford?  Jose Reyes is 32 and can’t stay healthy.  Jed Lowrie is coming of the first year where he played 150 games (and is also 30).  Is Jean Segura better than Crawford?  I’m not sure — I don’t want to penalize the guy for being so good on defense that I can’t afford to bench him against tough lefties.

Posted in Giants, MLB, Teams | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Brief Follow-up on Elite RP and @Ottoneu LWTS

The debate on reliever in fantasy baseball continues to rage in our Ottoneu league – and today, Rotographs’ Brad Johnson joined the fray with an article on the subject inspired by our intrepid commissioner @Fazeorange.  To be fair to Brad, he stated up front that his goal was not to resolve the argument, but rather to present a framework to answering the question.  Given my trademark immodesty, I’d like to offer a high level (and what I consider rather obvious) answer to the question.

Beyond my endless rants on the subject, this question arises from a real world situation:  one of our best and most active owners (and a former champion) has, at least on the message boards, been championing a strategy whereby he stacks his bullpen with “elite” relievers, thereby projecting an enormous bullpen advantage that not only confers extra points, but added flexibility elsewhere (because elite RPs are cheaper than elite position players or starting pitchers).  His bullpen currently includes 3 of the top 5 RPs from last year, and were LWTS scoring retrospective (like a Strat-o-Matic league, perhaps), this makes sense.  However, the question is whether it is likely his bullpen is filled with elite 2014 RPs.  Unfortunately, that is unlikely the case.

To attempt to gather data that might answer the question (if you want the entire spreadsheet, please email me), I went back and gathered the list of Top 10 projected players at each position (25 for the OF) in March 2012 and March 2013 (ie, immediately prior to the beginning of the season).   I used ESPN rankings, though I’m not sure that the lists matter, the variation at the top is minimal each year.  I then pulled each players Ottoneu LWTS point total for that season, and compared that number to the replacement level for his position in that year.  Brad’s replacement level for RPs was 72 (on the assumption that each team rostered about 5 RPs, an perhaps a bench player – in other words, sorting by RP scoring the 72nd ranked player).  For my positions, I defined the “replacement” player as follows:

C 18
1B 24
2B 24
SS 24
3B 18
OF 72
SP 72
RP 72

[** Interestingly, the replacement 3B in each year, finishing 18th each year, was Alberto Callaspo – at the gut level, this gives me some confidence we are defining replacement level appropriately]

Next, I summed the PAR (or, in some cases, the points below replacement) for each position.  Broken down by position and year, the results are as follows:

2012 Total PAR PAR/Player 2013 Total PAR PAR/Player
C 2706 271 C 2018 202
1B 1118 112 1B 1978 198
2B 3301 330 2B 2457 246
SS 3295 330 SS 2476 248
3B 3091 309 3B 3126 313
OF 6805 272 OF 6924 277
SP 3431 343 SP 3537 354
RP 686 69 RP 528 53

What do we see?  Surprisingly, the level of production for the top 10 projected players across the positions versus our replacement level is remarkably constant – except for RP.  If you invest in Robinson Cano, or Adrian Beltre, or Clayton Kershaw, you can be expecting 300-350 Points Above Replacement.  The only outlier here is RP – if you invest in an elite RP, you can expect to receive and extra 50-60 points from that investment.  Why?  Well, because even amongst the top 10, the flame out rate is significant.  In 2012, here is the projected top 10, along with their actual production and PAR:

Player Points PAR
Craig Kimbrel 747 377
Mariano Rivera 79 -291
Jonathan Papelbon 582 212
John Axford 480 110
Brian Wilson 7 -363
Rafael Betancourt 449 79
Joel Hanrahan 439 69
Jose Valverde 498 128
Jason Motte 620 250
J.J. Putz 485 115

Craig Kimbrel was the #1 ranked RP and performed like it.  Mariano Rivera blew out his knee shagging flies, while Brian Wilson wrecked his elbow as pitchers do, and both delivered far below replacement level value.  Rafael Betancourt and Joel Hanrahan managed to deliver replacement level to slightly above performance – but presumably at elite prices.

Was 2012 an outlier?  Here is the same table from 2013:

Player Points PAR
Craig Kimbrel 722 323
Aroldis Chapman 603 204
Jonathan Papelbon 449 50
Rafael Soriano 501 102
Fernando Rodney 553 154
Mariano Rivera 547 148
J.J. Putz 215 -184
Joe Nathan 649 250
Joel Hanrahan -11 -410
John Axford 290 -109

Is there a pattern?  Sort of.  Craig Kimbrel?  Monster – go get him if you can.  3 of the 10 posted wildly below replacement level.  A couple other big names Papelbon and Rodney) managed slightly above replacement, and a couple (Chapman and Nathan) were excellent.

Of course, this is a first level review – as always in Ottoneu, price matters, so a $2 Brian Wilson headed to Tommy John doesn’t affect things very much.  However, the question we’re trying to answer here is whether or not investing in the best RPs pre-season makes sense.  Regardless of price, in my view it doesn’t because there is such little likelihood that can can identify them if they’re not wearing a Braves jersey and closing in Atlanta.  Why does this debate rage, at least in our league?  My suspicion is that, as we look back year over year, it can be difficult to remember which relievers were expected to be elite – those sitting on Koji Uehara now can scarcely remember a time when he wasn’t atop the RP leaderboards.  Nevertheless, if we look at the numbers, RP is the one position that investing in anyone not named Craig Kimbrel makes little sense from the perspective of Points Above Replacement.

Thoughts?  Issues?  Problems with my methodology?  General screeds?  All are welcome, either though the site or via email at bill dot porter at gmail dot com.

Posted in Fantasy Baseball, LWTS, Ottoneu | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

@Ottoneu Trade Value (2014)

Likely in an event to avoid as much HOF news as possible today, my mind drifted to the topic of the best contracts in our Ottoneu league.  I believe the “Trade Value” series originated when Bill Simmons was The Sports Guy, writing his blog in Boston, but it has evolved to the point now where writers in all sports attempt to analyze players as assets by looking at their production, contract, age etc.  (Dave Cameron does the series for Fangraphs, Jonah Keri for Grantland on the baseball front).  As we approach the January 31st cut down date across Ottoneu leagues, I though that I would attempt a similar look at our Ottoneu league (so the dollar values you see below are the contract prices for each player in our league).

The “rules” for the trade value series are here, but to generalize, the main point is that we’re not looking at mere production, we’re looking at production, age, positional scarcity, projection for the future, and of course price.  Add on top of those rules the Ottoneu specific rules regarding starting lineups and rosters (162 Catcher games rather than “two catcher” leagues, 40 man rosters, inflation for both major and minor league players, 1500 IP pitching limits).   In theory, the resulting list would me in a one for one swap, you’d trade anyone on the list for anyone above him, and you wouldn’t make the reverse deal.

The biggest challenge for me was sorting the 2013 stats and players and cutting down to a manageable number from which to choose.  Ultimately, I split into hitters and pitchers, and then sorted by FPTS, by Points/Game or Points/IP, and by Points/$.  I identified about 20 or so hitters and 15 or so pitchers, and from there created a master list that included the categories mentioned above as well as age (with the presumption that pretty much everyone knows which position these guys play).  If anyone wants a copy of my spreadsheet with all the information, it is messy but I’m happy to share.

Before I present the top 10, a few comments on those guys that didn’t make it:

– The best hitter and best pitcher in the league didn’t make the cut.  Mike Trout ($70) and Clayton Kershaw ($56) were passed over, obviously not for reasons of on field production.  Cutting Trout was much easier in my mind, OF is a position in Ottoneu where replacement production can be found either in cheaper but still elite production, or by piecing together games by platoon-type mashers (think Brandon Moss).   Kershaw is tougher – his price is so high at $56, but aces are much harder to find or replace and getting nearly 1500 points out of one SP is absurd.  Still though, if he sat on my roster I would be madly shopping him on the assumption that those $56 could be better allocated elsewhere.

–  In most of my revisions before finalizing, Yadier Molina ($13) was safely in the top 10.  Ultimately, I pulled him out primarily because of his age (31 in 2014), though the low bar of catcher production leaves me thinking that I may regret that decision.

– I love both Kyle Seager and Carlos Gomez at $9, and while I think they’re great assets, I struggle to see either of them surpassing 2013 numbers — which isn’t a criticism, but their lack of upside is the primary reason to leave them out.

– Matt Carpenter is the subject of great debate in our Ottoneu league currently.  He nearly made the list, ultimately though I guess I’m in the “unbeliever” camp for Carpenter, because while I love his production, (a) he’s going to lose that 2B eligibility this year, and (b) I can’t ignore the fact that though he mashed as a 27 year old in St Louis last year, he was also a 24 year old stuck in AA and looked to have utility infielder career path before last year’s break out.  If he had even one more strong season under his belt, he would likely be on the list.

With that background, here’s my top 10:

Without going through each player in detail, I’ll try to offer some thoughts on my reasoning:

– Toughest decision on the list was 1 and 2.  I still don’t really know how to answer the question.  As between elite SP and elite Hitters, the hitter carries so much more certainty, and here the prices are almost identical.  Of course, some may say that I’m biased in favor of a player that I own (Darvish), but the interesting thing about this exercise is that, were Durham to offer me Davis for Darvish, I should accept the deal according to this table. I wouldn’t – because I’m so afraid of how to find replacement (elite) SP.  However, if the situation were reversed, I also wouldn’t offer Davis for Darvish for fear of injury.  So, I’m trying not to cop out, but I really don’t know what the right way to order those two assets.
– I suspect that Jean Segura is ranked higher than most would rank him. I feel like he’s the victim of some post-sleeper hype, a highly valued prospect who changed teams and perhaps got lost amidst the Harper/Trout/Machado prospect shuffle.  He is only 23, plays the hardest to replace position in fantasy baseball, and is the cheapest player on this list.
– Andrew McCutcheon at $42 may seem like an odd inclusion, but he is awesome across the board, and I struggle when I look at the guys who just missed to see who I should replace him with.  He is the same price as Paul Goldschmidt – I would take McCutcheon.  Similar analysis for Stephen Strasburg.  If Yadier Molina were 3 years younger he’d bump Cutch out, but alas . . .
– The two youngest players on the list are Machado and Fernandez.  Fernandez is probably an obvious one, Machado perhaps not (both got significant arbitration dollars thrown at them in November).  For me, all pitchers are injury risks so in some ways that’s why I ran Fernandez up the list.  There is no certainty in pitching, he’s proven to be elite over an admittedly small sample, but given that SPs are shooting stars, ride it out while you can.  Machado perhaps is more controversial (and coming off a knee injury, though he is expected to be ready for the start of the season) – he has yet to hit like an elite player, but the fact that he is putting up slightly above league average at ages 19 and 20 is everything as you project him.
– I really don’t know what to think of Yasiel Puig.  He’s electric, but (a) he plays the easiest position to replace in Ottoneu, and (b) his plate discipline causes me great concern, especially for those of us playing in linear weights leagues.  The talent is undeniable though, so he makes the list easily.

So there you have it.  Please let me know who you think I left out (or ranked incorrectly).

Posted in Contracts, Fantasy Baseball, LWTS, Ottoneu | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

@Ottoneu Arbitration Results

At long last, the first stage of the Ottoneu offseason is complete.  Yesterday constituted the Ottoneu arbitration deadline, where teams finalized allocation of their $25 to throw at other teams.   The extra arbitration dollars serve a few purposes — (1) helping minimize the advantage savvy owners may have by collecting underpriced assets, (2) punishing owners that appear to have the best teams lined up for 2014, or perhaps (3) merely punishing quality owners.

Teams have $25 to spread around the rest of the league, but can only allocate $3 to any team (and must spend at least $1 on each team).   I received a total of $29, spread across 12 players:2014 Arbitration Results (Enrico Palazzo) (Dollars Received) (1280x546) (2)

Quite honestly, the results stunned me — in a positive way.  Coming into the arbitration period, I had a number of players priced to attract $$, but none more than Yu Darvish ($8) and Manny Machado ($10).   Pre-arbitration, Cano sat at $44, Strasburg $36, Hamels $32 and Posey $28, while Lowrie and Corbin were $8, and Alex Gordon carred at $10 salary.

Yu Darvish finished 6th among SP with 1141 points while leading the league in strikeouts. Machado didn’t produce at quite an elite level, but managed to put up nearly 800 points as a 20-year-old 3B.  When Machado went down with a knee injury, I figured that some of the dollars would flow over to Darvish.  Honestly, I never considered that Strasburg, Cano, Posey or Hamels would attract arbitration dollars — each are priced decently given their elite level of production, but none carry a huge discount that I figured owners would be looking to pile cash on top of.  

Instead, Machado and Darvish got $8 each, bringing their price to $18 and $16, respectively.   Looking across Ottoneu LWTS leagues, Machado’s $18 is right around average, while Darvish still has significant excess value against a $32 average across all the leagues.

Looking past Machado and Darvish, 9 of my players received $1 allocations, including Robinson Cano ($44) and Stephen Strasburg ($36) on the high end of the price spectrum, and Patrick Corbin and Jed Lowrie (both $8) on the other side.  I don’t really understand any of these allocations.  Adding a mere $1 to pretty much any player makes little sense to me — to think that I would view a $44 Cano differently than a $45 Cano implies a level of precision that doesn’t exist in fantasy baseball — keeping, cutting or trading him will be the same decision regardless of $1 either way. Even looking at the prospects, adding $1 to Oscar Taveras or Carlos Correa doesn’t change their asset value in my view one bit.  Given the prices of Darvish/Machado, the arbitration impact of the $9 could have been painful (ie, if I were now holding a $27 Darvish instead of $18, his value to me and the open market significantly changes), but instead is largely irrelevant.

Ultimately, I had budgeted my 2014 roster plan to include an extra $33 divided in some manner between Darvish and Machado — so receiving $29 was a $4 benefit, and the $13 allocated to players where the price difference doesn’t matter is an added bonus.

Next Post:  A look at my $25 Arbitration allocations.

Posted in Fantasy Baseball, LWTS, Ottoneu | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hunter Pence’s Impending Contract

The SF Giants are in the death throes of an utterly abysmal follow-up to their 2012 World Championship.  With 81 losses already, they will finish below .500 unless they win out, and have long since  been eliminated from the NL West race by the resurgent Dodgers.  Much of the talk, rightly, focuses on 2014 and beyond, and one of the main points of conversation has been Hunter Pence, the emotional leader of last year’s championship run.

Hunter Pence, set to hit free agency right after this year’s World Series, is posting a career year, having posted a 295/345/499 slash line along with 25 HRs and 21 SBs.  Among OF, Pence’s 5.3 fWAR and wRC+ of 139 both rank 6th.   Aside from a slight uptick in ISO and the additional steals, Pence’s swing and contact rates and other peripherals are consistent with who he has been since entering the league – solidly above average hitter, sometimes indifferent fielder, good player but not superstar.

What makes Pence’s case somewhat interesting is the situation he finds himself in.  The underachieving Giants received another all-star caliber season from their young backstop (and reigning NL MVP) Buster Posey, while Brandon Belt has begun to realize some of his vaunted upside – but Pence has played every game this season, leads the team in WAR and, as mentioned above, played an integral part in last year’s magical run to the title.  Further, though we need to list them in great detail, SF has a long history of overpaying veterans (Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand, Edgar Renteria, Aubrey Huff, Marco Scutaro, Angel Pagan, Juan Uribe to name just a few).

So what does Pence deserve?  Clearly, his 2013 season is worth of a qualifying offer (expected to come in right around $14M), which Pence will undoubtedly decline – and the bidding will begin.  Fortunately, we have a very recent and direct comp:  Nick Swisher,who signed a 4 year/$56M contract with Cleveland this past winter.

Here are the numbers leading up to their free agency – for Swisher, 2010-2012 and for Pence, 2011 through today:

Name PA HR SB BB% ISO
2010-2012 Nick Swisher 1894 76 5 12.10% 0.204
2011-2013 Hunter Pence 1993 71 34 7.90% 0.188
OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR
2010-2012 Nick Swisher 0.366 0.478 0.367 129 11.4
2011-2013 Hunter Pence 0.344 0.475 0.354 127 11.3

As players, Swisher and Pence are nearly perfect substitutes – Swisher gets on base a bit more, while Pence makes more contact and does a bit more damage on the bases.  By wRC+ and WAR, their value is nearly the same over 3+ seasons.  To be fair, Swisher signed his free agent contract as a player entering his age-32 season, while Pence will explore options this winter entering his age-31 season.  Each year we see inflation in the price per win on the free agent market, so the age difference and inflation could mean Pence sees a bump in value; on the other hand, Swisher has shown himself a better, and more flexible, defensive player, which could mitigate some or all of that advantage. 

Ultimately, however, there is little reason to believe Pence will get a contract much different from Swisher – so we can expect to see him somewhere in the 4/$56M range – perhaps if we take into account his age advantage, a team can talk itself into 5/$75M.  Beyond this, however, there is little to talk about.  Pence’s skills and weaknesses are well known and the market is established – anything below 4/$60 would be a bargain, and I probably would be reluctant to tack on the 5th year, though some teams may.  What will be interesting, however, will be whether a team bereft of major league hitting talent (SF) will venture forth into the $20M/year world in the vain hopes that Pence can solve their power outages in the OF.

Posted in Brian Cashman, Contracts, Giants, GMs, MLB, Teams | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New @Fangraphs — Playoff Odds

Fangraphs introduced a very cool feature at their standings page, now integrating Coolstandings.com playoff odds into the presentation of up to date standings.  So, in one place we can see existing W/L records, expected records for the rest of the season, odds to make the playoffs as division and wildcard teams, and odds of winning the World Series.  There are a couple of numbers that strike me as odd (though they likely have a simple explanation that I’m missing):

(1)  In the AL, Boston has a 22% chance to win the Series and the Tigers stand at 17.2%.  Season to date, Boston holds a 1.5 game lead on Detroit, but they hold only a 2.5 game lead on TB, while the Tigers lead Cleveland by 5.5 games.   The result is that Detroit is almost assured of going into the post-season as a division winner (95%), whereas Boston has a 1 in 5 chance of being overtaken by TB and being forced into the one game wildcard playoff.   I would think the significant advantage of avoiding the 1 game playoff would boost Detroit’s odds to a greater extent.

(2)  Similar issue in the NL Central – St. Louis and Pittsburgh are locked in a dead heat for the division crown, while the Braves are two games better than each and 13 games ahead of Washington in the NL East.  Nevertheless, the Cardinals are given a 9.1% to 7.3% advantage for winning the WS.  Further, ATL is given a 50/50 shot of reaching the NLCS against the Cardinals’ 40% chance – so though ATL has a much greater likelihood or winning their division and of reaching the NLCS, their WS odds are lower?  Odd.

(3)  Interestingly, looking at ROS numbers, the system likes the Dodgers to have the best record, but the 2nd best at .582 are the Washington Nationals – yet another log on the fire of a disastrously disappointing year in the nation’s capital.

Posted in Cardinals, Dodgers, MLB, Nationals, Rays, Red Sox, Teams | Leave a comment

75% Likely to Make the Baseball Hall of Fame? Part I–Hitters

In Jeff Sullivan’s chat this morning, it was posited that Mike Trout has approximately a 75% chance to make the HOF, given that he’s duplicated his 20 year old season for the ages with a 21 year old season that in many ways is better.  While 75% seems high given that Trout has only 2 seasons under his belt, it is hard for me to make an argument that it’s wrong for a player who has accumulated the same bWAR as Joe Carter did in his 2200 game career.  What I started thinking about though is who else active today stands a 75% chance of making it to Cooperstown?

Here is the list of the active players with at least 40 bWAR – obviously the average HOF has more like 60 or 70 WAR, but we’re trying to capture not only qualified players, but those on the right trajectory that may not have the longest track record.    The 21 players break down into five groups:

Not That Close:

Lance Berkman

52.3

Jason Giambi

51.3

Torii Hunter

50.1

Mark Teixeira

47.5

Jimmy Rollins

41.4

Placido Polanco

41.1

These are terrific players that have had great careers.   They include two MVPs (Rollins and Giambi) and one of the truly underrated hitters of all time (Berkman).  I don’t think any one of them, however, is even a borderline Hall of Famer unless you favor an HOF that includes just about anyone with multiple ASG appearances.

PEDs:

Alex Rodriguez

115.9

Manny Ramirez

69.1

Miguel Tejada

47.1

These 3 players have interesting cases – on the numbers, A-Rod is a no doubt inner circle Hall of Famer, Manny Ramirez was I think the best hitter of his generation, and Tejada probably didn’t have a long enough peak, but accumulated almost the entirety of his career WAR over the 8 years from 1999-2006 during which he missed a TOTAL of 3 games. Nevertheless, I don’t see any of them even getting close to induction because of the multiple PED suspensions.

Close But Not Quite Enough:

Carlos Beltran

67.8

Todd Helton

61.1

Chase Utley

57.7

David Ortiz

43.3

Carlos Beltran is deserving of enshrinement in Cooperstown.  However, outside of his legendary performance in the 2005 playoffs, he has toiled in KC, spent some injured seasons in NY, delivered a lot of value with speed and defense, failed to win an MVP award and generally delivered HOF performance while somehow avoiding milestones that voters hang their respective hats on.  Todd Helton is poised to retire as the 21st player in baseball history to finish with 300/400/500 AVG/OBP/SLG, but his years in Coors Field carry with it a probably overstated discount rate HOF will likely apply.  Utley is another player that I think should get a long look from voters, but he didn’t play a full season until age 26 and has averaged only 100 games over the last 4 seasons – the later start and games lost to injury probably cost him his spot.   David Ortiz’s candidacy will probably hinge on how the Hall treats Edgar Martinez – Ortiz was largely washed up in Minnesota but a move to Boston rejuvenated his career as a full-time DH.  Though he’s never tested positive, his association with Manny may give him some PED taint as well.  These guys all have an argument, but that argument doesn’t approach 75%.

On Track – 75%

Miguel Cabrera

54.6
Joe Mauer 44.1
Robinson Cano 43.6
David Wright 46.4

These guys are all 30 years old with a ton of HOF-level accomplishments.  Cabrera has locked up his 3rd consecutive batting title and 2nd MVP award and is making a run at back to back triple crowns.  If he retired today, he might be elected on that basis alone.  Joe Mauer also has 3 batting titles (the only 3 ever won by an AL catcher).  Cano and Wright have 12 all-star appearances between them, are career .300 hitters that project to finish with between 300 and 400 HRs, and it never hurts that they play under the brightest lights in baseball.   I don’t think any of them are locks if they walked away from the game today, but they’ve all got 5-7 years left of productive baseball barring injury and even assuming steep aging curves, all four look like they’re in good shape.

Mortal Locks – 100%

Albert Pujols

92.8
Derek Jeter 72.1
Adrian Beltre 70.7
Ichiro Suzuki 59.1

Not much else to add.  Albert Pujols may have the worst contract in baseball, but he would waltz into Cooperstown on the 1st ballot if he quit tomorrow.  Ditto Cap’n Jetes and Ichiro (we don’t give him full credit for his work in Japan but 4000 hits between MLB and Japan are enough to put him into “lock” territory).  Beltre is probably the only controversial pick here but as I’ve written back in 2010, he’s going to go down as the 2nd greatest 3B ever (behind Mike Schmidt and ahead of Brooks Robinson) and has a chance at 3000 hits while he will top 400 HRs.  Barring a positive PED test, these guys are first ballot hall of famers.

SO there you have it – basically 8 current hitters who are way over 75% to make the HOF, 5 that could get in today with their numbers, 3 more that can afford to age gracefully and smooth their way into Cooperstown.

Tomorrow:  Pitchers

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