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John Olerud: Hall of Famer?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Joe Posnanski, channeling Bill James, makes a compelling case today:


    The gist of the argument is this:

    Studies show that a walk is worth about .6-.7 singles. In other words, 500 walks equals 325 singles. This is because there are some situations where a single is more important than a walk, and others where a single and a walk share the same value (ex. No one on base. Runner on first and only advances to second).

    So James/Posnanski say that when voting, a BBWAA member should/could move numbers around and see if the results make a player a more palatable HOF candidate.

    For example, Olerud.

    His career line now: .295/.398/.465

    After trading 500 walks for 325 singles: .324/.386/.487.

    That looks like a Hall of Famer to me. Olerud, by the way, received 4 of 581 votes this year, or 0.7%.

    He does it with a few other guys, notably Edgar Martinez.

    Really interesting exercise.
  2. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    "a walk is worth about .6-.7 singles"

    Let's start pro rating everything.
    Total nonsensical, contrived, sabermastubation BS.

    As a Mets fan, I loved Olerud as a player. He gets into the Hall of Fame the same way I do ... pay $20.
  3. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Perhaps an interesting exercise, but no way in hell does Olerud belong in the Hall of Fame. He had one great year in 1993 and was a nice player otherwise, but he isn't even close. Olerud had only 255 career home runs and he had no speed at all. Those ratios aren't enough to lift up a guy with his counting stats.
  4. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    No, it's not contrived. Not at all. It's formulated from compiled data of, I assume, thousands upon thousands of situations and results. That's the definition of "not contrived."
  5. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Well, he had two great years. But your major point stands.

    A couple things come to my mind with Olerud:

    (1) How frequently did he hurt his team by his lack of speed? For example, GIDP.
    (2) He had no discernible peak, which hurts him. His two great years were six seasons apart.
    (3) He played a non-valuable defensive position, though he did win three Gold Gloves there.
    (4) So if you fudge the numbers for Olerud, don't you have to do the same with guys in the HOF already? If you let Babe Ruth, for example, do the same, then suddenly the bar is higher again and Olerud's new line isn't so great. But I don't know how many guys walked enough for that to matter. It'd be interesting to look at.
  6. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    No, not even in his own household.
  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Why not?
  8. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    It's still bullshit.
    Why must you stat geeks alter numbers that already tell you how good a player is?
    A high number of walks obviously improves a player's OBP, a useful stat. Deciding a walk is worth .6 or .7 of a single is nonsense, no matter how much data you put into a freaking computer or how complex (or simple) the formula used to arrive at such a number.
    It's still an arbitraty and therefore contrived number
  9. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    If this thread lasts more than 2 pages, I weep for the future.
  10. Sea Bass

    Sea Bass Well-Known Member

    Huge Olerud fan here. And while I haven't read Posnanski's column, I think the idea of the guy being in the Hall of Fame is preposterous.
  11. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I'm not a stat geek.

    It's not "arbitrary." Neither is it "contrived." It is the opposite of both of those things.

    The problem is that the numbers, in a guy's case like Olerud, don't "already" tell us how good the player was. Because we have ingrained benchmarks in our mind about what kind of numbers a Hall of Famer should put up. If a guy hits 255 home runs, he better have hit well over .300. Olerud didn't. But when you make this exchange, he's a .324 hitter. And now he looks more viable.

    Same productivity. But translating the figures to something that looks more like what we think a Hall of Famer should look like puts a guy like Olerud on a more equitable scale.
  12. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    You should read it.

    It's really interesting.
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