Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Is Vladimir Guerrero a Hall of Famer?

So, one of my favorite baseball players of all-time officially announced his retirement.  Vladimir Guerrero has officially announced that he will retire, despite the fact that he has not appeared in a baseball game since 2011.  I've talked about my love for Vladimir Guerrero before but I would like to discuss his credentials for the Hall of Fame.

Guerrero's standard counting numbers are not that impressive.  He failed to hit the crucial mark of 500 home runs for his career or 3,000 hits.  But his final numbers are still pretty impressive.  He hit 449 home runs and had 2590 hits.  His career slash line is .318/.379/.553, and if you believe OBP is life, he has a pretty good on-base percentage for someone who never developed patience at the plate.  My favorite story comes from a catcher who says that he is set up on the outside corner, the pitcher throws a pitch and the catcher is reaching a good six inches even more outside and Guerrero manages to reach out and pull the ball to hit a home run to left field. Guerrero was a notorious free swinger and was super successful at it.

So let's look at the argument for him in the Hall of Fame.

Cons: Free swinger lacked patience at the plate; fielding mistakes, leading the league in errors 8 times; did not lead the league in a major category at any point, only led the league in runs once, hits once, and total bases twice, did not have an MVP season according to rWAR; never won the World Series; slash line of .263/.324/.339 in the playoffs; did not 500 home runs or 3000 hits; 59.9 career rWAR

Pros: If you like traditional stats, you'll like how I start this off.  6 times 100 or more runs scored; 4 200 hit seasons; 10 100 RBI seasons; 13 seasons of .300 batting average or higher including a .318 career average; 140 career OPS+ including 6 seasons of a 150 OPS+ or higher; 6 all-star seasons according to aWAR (Fangraphs and Baseball Reference Average); one of the most entertaining players to watch at any given time

In my free time, I developed a way to measure a player's Hall of Fame worthiness.  I give a total score based on a player's career aWAR, highest 5 consecutive seasons in aWAR, average aWAR per season, the 3 highest seasons according to aWAR, and 10 highest seasons according to aWAR.  Additionally, I give bonus points for seasons of 5 WAR or higher.  I chose 5 WAR because that is the standard for an all-star season.  A player with 10 all-star seasons would score 39 which is where I draw the line for a Hall of Famer.  For reference, Babe Ruth's score in this system is 130.44 (for hitting, alone).  I break it down by position, too to see how players stack up.

So, this is how Vlad stacks up against other Right Fielders


5 Consecutive


3 Highest

10 Highest

If you add those together and add the bonuses for his other great seasons, you get a score of 40.46, good enough for 19th place, right behind Tony Gwynn and just ahead of Gary Sheffield.  I'd vote him in if I had a vote.

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