Nationals Baseball: Hall of Fame Voting : The Worst of the First

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Hall of Fame Voting : The Worst of the First

I can see by the comments that you guys are riveted by this, so on we go. Today I look at the players on the ballot and see who are the worst of these guys. Who are the guys that Mark McLemore wakes up in the morning and shakes his fist at screaming "WHHHHHYYYY?" (or something like that). Again win shares will be our guide, the raw stats will be our... um... marker?

First let's cut out the potential Hall of Famers. Roberto Alomar (376) and Barry Larkin (346) should be Hall of Famers at their positions. (and as a side note Larkin could/would have been the first Nats Hall of Famer if they just listened to me and signed him to a 1 or 2 year deal instead of Guzman. Of course that made too much sense. Guzman. Jerk.) Fred McGriff (341) and Edgar Martinez (305) are also possibilities. (you can see the effect that Edgar's non-fielding has on his Win Share totals - he was a fantastic hitter but gave nothing else to his team. Will it be enough? I think he does surprisingly well this time. Voters love the hitters) Great players worth a serious look.

Next let's look at the very solid players - the ones you spend a second making sure they didn't do something surprising.

Ellis Burks (260) was supposed to be a star but took a while to get going. It was thought he might be a product of Colorado but he continued to smash the ball around in San Fran and Cleveland.

Andres Galarraga (251) Every 5 years Andre was awesome 1988: (.302 / .352 / .540), 1993: (.370/.403/.602), 1998: (.305/.397/.595). In between... well, outside of Colorado he had a lot of years that were just ok. His defense was outstanding though which kept him as a high level player.

Robin Ventura (272) another outstanding fielder - and a better hitter than you might remember almost 300 homers and a .362 lifetime OBP. Unlike Burks, who battled injuries, and Galarraga, who would occasionally have a dud year, Robin had the more typical ending. Age caught up with him in his early 30s.

Kevin Appier (189) Yeah the Win Shares are low but that's not all his fault. He was a 3.60 ERA pitcher over 13 years, 3.22 ERA over 8, just under 2000 Ks and had a couple of fantastic years. On a better team he would have been close to 200 wins, and on a better team with some luck with injuries (he was DONE at 35) he may have been on the legitimate discussion list.

Teir 3 - no reason they shouldn't be on the ballot - kind of a nod to long and productive careers.

Todd Zeile (221) Consistently good for a dozen years. That's really it. Only had one off year and usually played a ton of games, but was never great.

Ray Lankford (227) A poor man's superstar. Could hit for average, got on base, hit for power, and could steal bases. Wasn't a great fielder though and his peak was a few years short and just a step below the consistent All-Star. Kind of feel if he had come of age on a more offensively minded team he might have been one level up.

Eric Karros (183) Unlike Zeile he did have a couple of great years, unlike Zeile again he had a shorter "peak" and a lot more mediocrity. Almost too low for a first baseman.

Ok now we get to the nitty-gritty. The "why the Hell are these guys on the ballot" group

David Segui (130) A pretty average first baseman with limited power. No All-Star years, rarely a full season player, DH'd a lot, never made the postseason. Probably in because of his .291 average but other than that this guy was just a slightly above average first baseman.

Pat Hentgen (126) Here's a good case for letting a so-so career on the ballot. Legit Cy Young winner (265 innings of 3.22 innings), 3 times all-star. Was never the same after back to back 260+ IP. Mediocre after age 28, only one full season after 31 but for 5 years one of the best pitchers in the league.

Mike Jackson (126) a middling reliever that would occasionally put out tremendous seasons, including a 1.55 ERA, 64 innings seasons that got him a ridiculous MVP vote in 1998. Still though - most of those other 14 years he was good, but nothing you'd look twice at.

Shane Reynolds (94) Reynolds had his moments, votes for rookie of the year, Cy Young (239 innings, 3.65 ERA), All-Star, for 7 out of 8 years he was a guy you'd like to have as your #3 - eating up innings and keeping you in the game. Outside of those 8 years though there was really nothing.

So who earns my vote? Hentgen is obviously out, but the other three are all legit choices. Shane Reynolds has a mediocre but solid run. Not something to be disregarded for a pitcher in Houston, then again Houston was a good team then - you'd expect more wins. For all of Mike Jackson's accomplishments he was, in the end, a reliever. When dominant ones face questions on whether they should make the Hall should a blase one with a long career make the ballot? And then there is Segui, his numbers are allright, but are they allright for a first baseman? Who wasn't a great fielder? That seals it for me.

Reynolds filled a rotation need, Williams was a necessary piece of a bullpen, but Segui, David Segui was a stop gap. The guy you put at first base until you could get a "real" first baseman in there. Traded 5 times for second rate prospects you could tell what his own team (and the teams acquiring him) thought of his talent level. Baltimore gave up on him at age 26. The Mets felt Rico Brogna could do a better job. He was a player who lasted as long as he did for the simple reason that teams felt they could "do worse".

Congrats David Segui : Worst of the First

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