C-WAR Hall of Fame Project: Designated Hitter


Edgar Martinez
via blogs.seattleweekly.com via Wikipedia

C-WAR is a Hall of Fame monitoring system using career and peak WAR. C-WAR is the career WAR(P) totals from Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs, and Baseball Prospectus added up and averaged out, plus an eight year peak (five best years in a row, plus 3 best additional years) from Baseball-Reference. Click here for more information on C-WAR.

Hall of Fame standards vary by position, but a C-WAR score of 100 is usually the minimum of being Hall worthy. Ideally a player’s peak is 40+ (averaging 5 or more wins a year during their eight year peak) and his career average is 60+. Established in 1973, the DH is a relatively new position. No player who has played at least 50% of their games at DH is currently enshrined in the Hall of Fame. This should change in 2014 when Frank Thomas first appears on the ballot.

How to read the chart below:

The player’s name is followed by their career WAR from Baseball-Reference (BR), FanGraphs (FG), and Baseball Prospectus (BP). Those three numbers (or two, BP doesn’t publish historical WAR data prior to 1950) are averaged out (AVG). The AVG is the first half of C-WAR. Next you will find the player’s five best years in a row (BR-5), followed by the player’s three best additional seasons (BR-3), both according to Baseball- Reference’s WAR. Next to that is the total peak value (PK) of the five best years, and three best additional years added together. PK is the second half of C-WAR. Adding AVG+PK=C-WAR. The seasons next to PK are the five best years in a row (5 YEARS), followed by the three best additional years (3 YEARS +). The last number is C-WAR. Players highlighted in gold are members of the Hall of Fame. Players in blue are still active. You can zoom in and out of the chart with the magnifying glass symbols on the right, and download the entire PDF.

Please note that Baseball Prospectus’ WARP system is very unstable and produces frequent changes to a player’s value. The numbers below are up to date as of 11/24/12

Below is the chart for designated hitters:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Some notes on the chart:

1. Frank Thomas 73.3 AVG/48.7 PK/122 C-WAR

Frank Thomas averaged 6.1 wins a year during his peak, only two of those peak years (91, 00) were played primarily at DH. Thomas played more games as a DH (1,310) than at first base (969) and will likely be the first player enshrined into the Hall of Fame who played over 50% of his games as a designated hitter. Thomas finished his career with a slash line of .301/.419/.555 and an OPS of .974. Thomas hit 521 home runs, and is one of only nine members of the 500 home run club to also have a career on-base percentage over .400. Thomas was an outspoken critic of the “steroid era” and the only active player who cooperated with the Mitchell Report, he need not worry about the BBWAA moral police keeping him out of the Hall.

2. Paul Molitor 75.7 AVG/41.9 PK/117.6 C-WAR

Paul Molitor averaged 5.2 wins a year during his peak, three of those peak years (87, 91, 93) were played primarily at DH. Molitor played more games at DH than anywhere else, but more games in the field combined than at DH. Molitor finished his career with 3,319 hits and a slash line of .306/.369/.448 with an OPS of .817. Molitor was elected to the Hall of Fame his first year on the ballot with 85.2% of the vote.

3. Jim Thome 69.2 AVG/43.3 PK/112.5 C-WAR (and counting)

Jim Thome averaged 5.4 wins a year during his peak, none of his peak years were played primarily at DH. Thome has played lots of games as a designated hitter (817 and counting),  however most of them came later in his career. Thome is one of just eight players with 600 or more home runs, and one of three with 600+ homers and an on-base percentage of .400 or higher. Ruth and Bonds are the other two. Thome should be an obvious Hall of Famer, however I suspect when he first appears on the ballot he will be given the Bagwell treatment as well. Thome has never tested positive, never was the subject of a federal investigation, he wasn’t named in the Mitchell Report, no eyewitnesses have ever claimed to have seen him use or provided him with PEDs, and he has repeatedly denied ever using steroids.

4. Edgar Martinez 67.5 AVG/46.3 PK/113.8 C-WAR

Edgar Martinez averaged 5.8 wins a year during his eight year peak, all but two of his peak years (91, 92) were played almost exclusively at DH. Martinez was baseball’s first great full time designated hitter, over the duration of his career he played 68% percent of his games there. Martinez finished with a slash line of .312/.418/.515 with an OPS of .933. From 1990-1999 Martinez posted a WAR (Baseball-Reference) of 49.2, 7th best in the majors during that time, his FanGraphs WAR (fWAR) of 54 ranks 5th. Martinez is being excluded from the Hall of Fame because the old voting guard hates the DH. They also loathe the wild card, realignment, interleague play, advanced metrics, and any change related to the game of baseball. Even though the DH is 40 years old, they’re still bitter about its existence. That’s the primary reason Edgar Martinez isn’t already in the Hall of Fame, buffoonery. I suspect some voters are also giving Martinez the Bagwell treatment as well, so he has two unfair things keeping him out of the Hall, what a shame.

Those four are all deserving of enshrinement into the Hall of Fame, everyone else on the chart above falls short. David Ortiz had a great five year stretch from 2003-2007 averaging 4.8 wins a year during that time. Ortiz dipped after that, but has since regained some of that peak form during his last two seasons. His traditional numbers are getting close to making him a borderline Hall of Fame candidate, however his positive steroid test during the 2003 survey period will squash any chance he has of getting enshrined.

Many thanks to the incredibly smart people who work at Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs, and Baseball Prospectus. Without their tireless efforts to improve and maintain their sites and information none of this research would be possible.

Any questions or comments about the Hall, or a player listed or not listed above, send them to contact@replacementlevelpodcast.com or find me on Twitter @Rosscarey

Originally posted 8/16/12

Updated 11/24/12

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