Thursday, December 19, 2013

Do They Belong In the Hall? Thomas, Timlin, Trammel & Walker

Well, we've made it, the last round of people on the 2014 Official Hall of Fame Ballot and to see whether or not these people belong.

Frank Thomas:

Up until this write up, I totally forgot that I had the video game Frank Thomas Big Hurt Baseball when I was a kid. In an era with a lot of offense, Frank Thomas stood out above the crowd. He had a very good eye as he led the league in walks four times and led the league in OPS+ on three occasions (1991, 1994 & 1997). He had a seven year peak that was absurd (OPS+ above 170 from 1990 to 1997). Even after this stretch, he had 10 years of very good baseball in him. The only real downfall to his game was that he was pretty terrible defensively -23.4 dWAR for his career.

On historical precedence, he has a decent case. 4 of the 5 Hall of Fame Statistics on baseball-reference rate him favorably. He only has three similars in the Hall (Mantle, McCovey & Foxx) but this has more to do with many of these players either still active (Pujols), haven't been retired long enough to be eligible (Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome) or people I would vote for if I had a vote (Bagwell).

Verdict: Yes

Mike Timlin:

Not sure how he got on the ballot. Yeah, he had a nice long career, a solid ERA+ (125) a few random seasons as the designated ninth inning guy. I don't see a scenario where he makes it more than one year on the ballot (or even gets any votes).

Verdict: No

Alan Trammel:

One thing is for sure, he's not getting in as a manager. He is on his 13th year on the ballot and is coming off a 33% showing. At first glance, this is another 1980s Detroit Tigers player that has a higher than expected hall vote total. On the offensive end, he was a good hitter (110 OPS+) with one very strong season (1987). One thing that helps him is that the numbers back up his reputation as a very strong defensive player (22 dWAR) at one of the the most demanding positions of shortstop.

If he got into the Hall of Fame, it would not be completely unprecedented. He does rank favorably in the Hall of Fame Monitor and JAWS and two of his similars (Larkin & Sandberg) are in the hall of fame. So he does have somewhat of a case, but not strong enough that I would vote for him if given the chance.

Verdict: No

Larry Walker:

The one knock against Walker is that his accomplishments and numbers are a product of Coors field. While he did get help from his homepark, he also put up good numbers when he played for other teams and he was a very productive player playing on the road (to the tune of a .865 OPS).

In the first few years of eligibility his support has stalled in the 20% ranges. 3 of the 5 Hall of Fame Stat monitors favor Walker and he has three comparibiles in the hall (Snider, DiMaggio & Mize).  Like Trammel, while there is some precedence to someone of his caliber getting in, there are more deserving candidates out there.

Verdict: No