Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Season 23 Hall of Fame preview: Part 2

Underrating the Hit King
While I think my system gives a pretty good rough evaluation of Hall-worthiness, I must admit that the points it gives to MVP winners are quite generous. The upside is that guys are rewarded for being acknowledged as the best position player in a given year. The downside is that guys who had amazing years and amazing careers but never put up big power numbers often were ignored by the sim nominators, and miss out. Such is the case with Chili Olsen, who was a 9-time All-Star and a 5-time Silver Slugger. And then there's his most noteworthy accomplishment--racking up 3,473 hits, more than anyone in Morgan history. The 12th pick in Season 1's draft far surpassed any other member of that class, yet he never won a title.

The takeaway? Olsen may have finished well behind Johnson and Hutton according to my numbers, but he's still among the 3 no-brainer nominees.

Or Should It Have Been 4 No-Brainers?
Eric Thomas actually finishes ahead of Olsen in points. Thomas managed to win 3 rings playing for superior teams, and his steroid-era-fueled OBP and SLG% would put him just ahead if he were still eligible. The big knock on Thomas was that he was a career DH. In my opinion, the anti-DH bias is a little silly. If he'd played barely passable 1B for an NL team, would he suddenly have been a HOF lock? Thomas always felt like a guy who was going to be a borderline case, but my gut still says the guy should have made it.

Speaking Of Borderline
Two guys make a compelling case that they might deserve your votes. Alex Cordero The LF/1B posted 2,474 hits, scored 1,783 runs, and swiped 643 bases--one of five HOF candidates with over 600 steals. Cordero backers can also point to his pair of championship rings, 7 All-Star appearances, and 3 Gold Gloves at 1B.

Alan O'Malley has seen his share of support in past votes. It seems like every year, O'Malley looks like the 4th or 5th or 6th best guy on the ballot. Note that O'Malley is listed as a DH on the ballot, but actually played almost exclusively at 2B. He won an MVP award and was a familiar face on the awards page. His career stat lines aren't bad, but they don't quite make him a top tier candidate.

Both of these guys warrant consideration, but I'm not sure there are enough votes out there to send more than three hitters to the Hall this year. I'm not certain about this, but O'Malley might be running out of chances pretty soon.

At Least People Will Recognize Them At Card Shows
The guys on the outside looking in? Start with 2-time MVP Horace Polcovich, whose prime was just too short, and whose career went off the tracks when I grabbed him off of waivers and then sent him down to the minors as part of a youth movement in Hartford.

Steve Taylor was a fine player, and benefits from having played a lot of games--including several All-Star games--at SS. Maybe next year he'll have a shot at building some buzz around his candidacy. Same could be said about Esteban Montanez.

Donn Gwynn could make a compelling case for the HOF because he was the best catcher in the game for a few years and put up decent numbers over his career. I was thinking of endorsing him, until I realized that we're just a few years away from the retirements of Gerald Bradley and Pedro Arroyo, who are clearly the greatest catchers Morgan has produced, and are far more deserving of induction.

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