Thirteen Candidates Exceed the Hall of Fame Median

Nov 11, 2015 by Adam Darowski

The 2016 Hall of Fame ballot is out. What does Hall Rating think of the candidates?

Of the 17 returning candidates, 14 are in the Hall of Stats.

  1. Barry Bonds (359)
  2. Roger Clemens (291)
  3. Curt Schilling (171)
  4. Jeff Bagwell (162)
  5. Mike Mussina (162)
  6. Larry Walker (150)
  7. Mike Piazza (146)
  8. Alan Trammell (141)
  9. Edgar Martinez (134)
  10. Tim Raines (127)
  11. Mark McGwire (123)
  12. Sammy Sosa (115)
  13. Gary Sheffield (114)
  14. Jeff Kent (101)
  15. Fred McGriff (93)
  16. Nomar Garciaparra (90)
  17. Lee Smith (62)

Of course, this means we have a logjam already (since only ten votes are allowed per ballot). Luckily, this year’s ballot doesn’t make things too much worse.

Here are the 15 new candidates.

  1. Ken Griffey Jr. (171)
  2. Jim Edmonds (120)
  3. Jason Kendall (86)
  4. Troy Glaus (67)
  5. Billy Wagner (65)
  6. Trevor Hoffman (62)
  7. Luis Castillo (46)
  8. Mike Hampton (45)
  9. Randy Winn (43)
  10. Mike Lowell (40)
  11. Mark Grudzielanek (39)
  12. Garret Anderson (37)
  13. Mike Sweeney (37)
  14. Brad Ausmus (31)
  15. David Eckstein (29)

The Hall actually did a pretty good job of choosing the ballot. The 15 names were among the top 17 available by Hall Rating. The other two were Chan Ho Park (36) and Ronnie Belliard (31). Park should have made it to the ballot. As Jay Jaffe said:

It’s obvious he’s not a Hall of Famer, but Park does have status as a pioneer: He’s the first Korean-born player to reach the majors and to make an All-Star team. At a time when the pipeline of Korean talent is increasingly open,—Jung-Ho Kang played a significant role on the Pirates’ wild card team in 2015 and Byung-Ho Park (no relation) had his posting rights awarded to the Twins on the same day the ballot was revealed—this is a careless oversight. Like Hideo Nomo, who blazed a trail for modern Japanese players to come to the majors, Park deserves the recognition that comes with a spot on the ballot.

Just two (Griffey and Edmonds) will be gaining admittance to the Hall of Stats. That means, by the numbers:

Remember, the Hall of Stats differs from metrics like Jaffe’s JAWS in several ways. One significant one is that fewer players are JAWS-worthy than Hall Rating-worthy. That’s because Hall Rating empties out the Hall of Fame and repopulates with a new group of players. JAWS only deems players who exceed the median Hall of Famer to be worthy. By JAWS’ definition of Hall-worthy (exceeds the Hall of Fame median), 13 candidates still fit the bill. This, of course, is an enormous problem because voters only have those ten checkmarks to use.

All of this ignores the three relief pitchers on the ballot who are sure to pull a good amount of votes. You’ll see that Wagner, Hoffman, and Smith are all very close by Hall Rating. But all three are also significantly short of the Hall standard. This is after WAR gives relievers a boost for leverage and I give an extra boost (which I’m not sure I should even give) for lack of playing time. Outside of Mariano Rivera, Hoyt Wilhelm, and perhaps Rich Gossage I just can’t make a case for relief pitchers in the Hall of Fame.

But really, we shouldn’t even be thinking about closers when players like Tim Raines don’t even rank among the top ten candidates by Hall Rating. Good luck, BBWAA. You’ll need it.

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