First of all, yesterday marked the second anniversary of the Hall of Stats launch. I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you who regularly use the site as a resource. Honestly, I made the site (along with Jeffrey Chupp and Michael Berkowitz) for me. The fact that there are others who find it interesting is a wonderful bonus. Thank you for your interest, your support, and your conversations.
Second of all, friend of the site Ross Carey (of the Replacement Level Podcast) announced on Friday that he’ll be publishing a series of posts ranking the Top 250 players of all time. The first post goes live today (featuring players #250–226) and will continue to come for the next couple weeks. If you’re anything like me, you’ll love devouring such a series this time of year. Ross’ personal Hall of Fame is one that I’ve included as part of my Hall of Consensus project.
Lastly, this is the time of year when awards dominate the baseball landscape. Last year, I was feeling a bit left out so I created the Tim Keefe and Ed Mincher awards.
Tim Keefe Award
The Tim Keefe Award is named after the 19th century New York Giants and Metropolitans ace pitcher. In 1883, Keefe (perhaps unknowingly) set a single-season record for Hall Rating that has stood for 130 years. That season, Keefe started—and completed—68 games, threw 619 innings, won 41, lost 27, fanned 359, and posted an ERA of 2.41 (an ERA+ of 145). The performance was worth 19.7 WAR. He also hit .220 with nine triples at the plate, adding another 0.3 WAR. The 20.0 total WAR is an all-time single-season record.
The player with the highest Hall Rating in 2014 was Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (with a Hall Rating of 17.4). Therefore, he is the 2014 Tim Keefe Award winner. Last year’s winner, Mike Trout, was this year’s runner-up. Trout topped all position players with a Hall Rating of 16.6. Trout was followed closely by Jonathan Lucroy (16.5), the top finisher among National League position players. Finally, Corey Kluber finished fourth (15.7), leading all American League pitchers. José Abreu (10.6) led all American League rookies while Ender Inciarte (7.2) paced National League freshmen.
Ed Mincher Award
This award is named for Ed Mincher. Mincher’s 1872 Washington Nationals played just 11 games (going 0–11) before disbanding. Mincher contributed a team-worst –0.8 WAR (remember, in only 11 games). Because we pro-rate short seasons, that leads to a Hall Rating of –5.7.
This year, the Ed Mincher award goes to Rays catcher Jose Molina. Molina batted .178 and slugged .187 while scoring only four runs despite coming to the plate 247 times. Molina, of course, was in the lineup for his defense—but he finished eight runs below average.
It’s worth noting that DRS does not include pitch framing, which Molina excels at. In 2014, he may have been worth almost 17 runs above average. If that is the case, he would have been pushed almost back to replacement level. That would make Rangers pitcher Robbie Ross the new Mincher Award winner with a –2.0 Hall Rating.