Thursday, October 31, 2013

1953 Brooklyn Dodgers VS. 2013 Detroit Tigers

So I use a website called www.whatifsports.com, and they run fantasy simulations of baseball basketball football and hockey games. You can create your own team and play against other created teams, or you can match up historical teams and the engine will simulate the games and give you a report. I decided to pit the 2013 Detroit Tigers against the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers in a World Series, and see the results. I set the line-ups each game, changed home and away in a 2-3-2 fashion, and pitched who I believed would pitch in each game. Here are the results:

1953 Dodgers vs. 2013 Detroit Tigers

Game One: Brooklyn 10, Detroit 4 Game one was all about Brooklyn as they won on the road in a 10-4 victory. They got three home runs, one each from Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and Gil Hodges. Carl Erskine was the winning pitcher, throwing 7 innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out ten. Max Scherzer from Detroit wasn’t his normal self, giving up seven runs in 6 innings while walking five and striking out 4. Torii Hunter hit an RBI double for Detroit.

Game Two: Brooklyn 8, Detroit 6 Brooklyn took game two on the road in a closer game, 8-6. Detroit had plenty of chances, loading the bases and failing to score twice in this game. The Dodgers capitalized on a 6 run fifth inning, including a two run double by Roy Campanella that chased starter Justin Verlander from the game. Cabrera had an RBI double and a two run home run in the game, rookie shortstop Jose Iglesias hit a solo shot and Prince Fielder had an RBI triple. Bob Milliken was the winning pitcher in relief for Brooklyn.
Game Three: Detroit 6 Brooklyn 1 Detroit made its way back into the win column in game three with a commanding 6-1 victory in the first game in Brooklyn for the series. Anibal Sanchez threw a gem, going 6 innings, giving up only one run (a solo shot to Pee Wee Reese in the second) and striking out 7. He also helped his cause by driving in a run in the 4th inning off Brooklyn starter Preacher Roe. Andy Dirks hit a two run double in the 8th as well.
Game Four: Brooklyn 9 Detroit 2 Brooklyn took a 3-1 lead in the series today with a commanding 9-2 victory. Loes, the pitcher for Brooklyn, threw a great game, going 6 innings and giving up 0 earned runs while striking out 4. Roy Campanella had 4 RBI’s including a three run home run in the 8th inning to put the game away. Duke Snider added a solo shot in the seventh. For Detroit, Cabrera hit his second home run of the series, a 2 run shot to back starter Doug Fister, who thew a quality start despite getting the loss.
Game Five: Detroit 9 Brooklyn 5
Detroit staved off elimination today in exciting fashion, scoring 5 runs in the 10th inning to keep their hopes alive. Game one starters Max Scherzer and Carl Erskine both threw great games, with Max going 7 innings, giving up one run and striking out 3 and Erskine throwing 8 innings with 3 runs and 7 K’s. The game was 4-3 going into the 9th inning thanks to a Prince RBI double and a Cabrera RBI single, but closer Joaquin Benoit blew the save, giving up an RBI single to pinch hitter Belardi. The game went into the 10th inning, where Omar Infante delivered an RBI double, followed by a Torii Hunter RBI single and a climactic 3 run home run over the left field wall by MVP Miguel Cabrera. Roy Campanella hit a solo home run in the bottom of the tenth, but it was too little too late as Detroit crawled back and made the series 3-2, heading back to Detroit for game six and maybe game seven.
Game Six: Detroit 14 Brooklyn 5
Detroit forced game seven today in an absolute rout of the visiting Dodgers, 14-5. Brooklyn starter Johnny Podres was chased in the third inning after surrendering six runs. Detroit got contributions from the entire lineup, including backup catcher Brayan Pena, who made his first start of the series and captured 4 hits and 2 RBI’s. Cabrera continued his torrid hitting, getting two more RBI’s in the 7th inning right before a mammoth three run shot by Prince Fielder put the game out of reach. Detroit starter Justin Verlander went 6.2, giving up four runs including back to back solo shots by Carl Furillo and Duke Snider in the seventh. Detroit will have home field advantage for Game seven.
Game Seven: Brooklyn 8, Detroit 4 The Brooklyn Dodgers won game seven by an 8-4 score and have won the World Series! Brooklyn starter Preacher Roe went 6 innings, gave up 4 runs and had 3 strikeouts. Anibal Sanchez, who was so good in a game three victory, struggled today giving up 6 runs over 6 innings, to go along with 8 K’s. Brian Cox had an RBI double in the 3rd inning, and Roy Campanella finished with three RBI’s. Gil Hodges added a 2 run triple as the Brooklyn offense was just too much for Detroit. Miguel Cabrera added another HR in the first inning, giving him four for the series. Jose Iglesias also hit his second of the series, and Brayan Pena made another start and went 3-4, making him 7-9 in the series. Fans will wonder if he should have started earlier in the series, as incumbent Alex Avila did not perform well. Ultimately the timely hitting and clutch pitching of the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers outdid monster performances by Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and even Brayan Pena to win the World Series.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Nomar Garciaparra and the Hall of Fame

There are some players who just cannot seem to avoid the injury bug. For some it hits them once or twice and they miss a large chunk of time, but then return to form with no further problems. And some players just never seem to escape it, their entire career marred by frustrated fans, disappointing numbers, early retirements and the thoughts of what could have been. Former Boston shortstop Nomar Garciaparra certainly falls into that second category. But were the numbers he put up when he was healthy good enough for inclusion into Baseball's hall of fame, or will the injury bug prevent a stellar baseball player from entering? Let's take a look:

The case for Nomar:

If I told you I have a player who was a six time all-star, the rookie of the year, won two batting titles, the comeback player of the year award, a silver slugger award, was top ten in MVP voting five times and had a lifetime batting average of .313, you would probably think I was talking about a hall of famer. Mr. Garciaparra certainly accomplished a lot during his 14 year career. He won back to back batting titles in 1999 and 2000, hitting .357 and a blistering .372, respectively. In addition to those he also led the league in hits and triples in 1997, and doubles in 2002.

Nomar's career numbers as compared to other shortstops are very good.

.521 slg% -1st among shortstops who had at least 5000 plate appearances.

.882 OPS - 1st among shortstops who had at least 5000 plate appearances.

.313 batting average - 4th among shortstops who had at least 5000 plate appearances.

.361 OBP - 13th among shortstops who had at least 5000 plate appearances.

229 home runs - 7th.

936 RBI's - 14th.

The fantastic baseball statistics website www.baseball-reference.com has an analysis tool called the Hall of fame monitor, and the Hall of Fame Standard. These are analyses that, through statistical analysis, provide a player with a numeric value that can be directly compared to what an "average" hall of famer would receive. (Further explanation about this can be found here: (http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/leader_glossary.shtml#hof_monitor) For the HOF monitor, an average hall of famer averages about a 100, and Nomar Garciaparra has a score of 112. This score is higher than that of Hall of Famers Willie McCovey, Roy Campanella, Willie Stargell, Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson.

The case against Nomar:

Simply put, he did not play long enough and at a high enough level to put up the counting stats necessary to reach the hall of fame. For hitters who are contact hitters, 3000 hits is considered guranteed enshrinement into the Hall of Fame (even that is being tested as Craig Biggio did not get in last year despite having over 3k hits). For a power hitter 500 home runs is considered the automatic enshrinement number. For a short stop less is expected in the power department, and while Nomar's 229 home runs is great among shortstops, his main skillset was getting hits. His 1747 career hits just is not enough to merit Hall of Fame consideration. (To put this into perspective, Bert Campaneris, Tony Fernandez, Edgar Renteria, Dave Concepcion and Alan Trammell all have over 500 MORE hits than Nomar). Nomar would have needed at least 2500 hits to get a really strong look, and the injury bug really hurt him in this category.

It is worth pointing out that while Nomar scores really high among shortstops in categories like slugging%, OPS and batting average, he gets a big bump because his career ended before he really went through a depreciation period. Garciaparra was forced to retire at age 35 from injuries, so his slugging percentage and batting average did not have the typical decrease that happens with hitters as they reach their late 30's and into their 40's.

Garciaparra has a career WAR (wins above replacement) of 44.2, which only ranks 249th among position players, and is not even in the top 20 for shortstops. The average hall of fame shortstop has a WAR of 66.2, and Nomar is nowhere close to that number. (Again, Jim Fregosi and Bert Campaneris, neither hall of famers, have higher WAR numbers than Nomar).

Verdict:

Nomar had a great career, and had he been able to stay healthy and play full seasons during his early 30's he may have been able to reach 2500 hits and/or 300 home runs, numbers that would have given him a fantastic chance at the Hall of Fame. While his Batting average and slugging numbers may have decreased with age, a .2890 batting average with around 300 home runs and around 2500 hits would have made him a Hall of Famer. As it stands, the injury bug bit him hard enough to derail what I think would have been a Hall of Fame career. Nomar will still get votes, but ultimately I believe he will fall short of hall of fame consideration, and rightfully so.


I'm back

So I used to have a website at www.andypatton.net, but unfortunately some technical difficulties have wiped out that site, so I am restarting over here. My primary topics were about major league baseball, occasionally basketball or football as well. One of my favorite subjects was debating the hall of fame candidacy of certain retired, or even current MLB players. I cannot access the old blogs anymore, but I covered guys like Fred McGriff, Omar Vizquel, Bret Saberhagen, Mickey Lolich, Lou Whitaker, Urban Shocker, David Cone and Dale Murphy. I will likely continue those here as well. Thanks for reading. Go Tigers, Go Blazers, Go Zags, Go Mariners, Go Ducks and Go Redhawks!

~Andy