Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hall of Fame Candidates

Below is the list of HOF eligible candidates. I decided to rank the top 20 candidates not yet in the hall.

1. Mendy Clemens
Seasons 1-13
Stats: 1584 R (4th All-time), 334 HR, 1405 RBI, 297 SB, .304 AVG, .915 OPS
Awards: 6-Time 2b Silver Slugger, 5-Time All-Star, 1-Time LF Silver Slugger & 1 World Series Ring.

Pros: Unless we want a HOF consisting of only DH/1b/LF and SP we need to start factoring the positions of the nominee. Clemens is probably the best 2b in the history of Hunter, I think it’s safe to say the best at any position should be in the HOF. Unlike some other nominees that played up the middle out of position Clemens was a bone fide 2b until season 9 and then a passable defender until season 11. As a top of the order batter he got the job done with a .385 OBS and huge run totals which put him in the top 5 all-time. Also Clemens was 24 when the world was created and looking at his initial ratings he could have been a ML contributor as early at 22. A final pro for Clemens is when I roughed out this list I had him 4th or 5th but the more I looked at him the further he climbed.

EDIT: M. Clemens was the starting 2b for the All-Hunter AL Decade team

Cons: To nitpick he was only had average range for a 2b but did have a plus glove

EDIT: When review his SB success that could be the 2nd knock on Clemens while he stole 297 based he was thrown out over 150 times.

2. Kevin Coleman
Seasons 1-14
Stats: 166-91 2383 IP 1843K 3.66 ERA 1.24 WHIP
Awards: 3-Time All-Star, 3 Time Cy Young winner , 1 World Series Ring, 1 Silver Slugger

Pros: Authored a career 3.66 ERA despite pitching in Colorado/Tucson for four combined seasons, has the most Cy Young awards of any retired pitcher not named Bournigal. Posted a career winning % of .645 despite spending 7 of his 14 seasons on non-playoff teams.. For the first 10 seasons of Hunter the league average ERA ranged from 4.92.-5.45 Coleman’s ERA was about a run and a half lower than (3.66) than the league average. His ERA becomes even more impressive when put into the following context. he pitched 22% of his career innings in Coors field, He pitched 400 innings in Tucson’s Electric park which is the third best hitting park (behind Coors and Sante Fe) and for those 400 IP he averaged an ERA of 3.18. So during his extended prime Coleman was clearly an elite pitcher he just had some factors working against his overall stats. In the one season he spent on a quality team in a pitcher’s park he went 18-5 with a 1.98 ERA. Perhaps a glimpse into what he could have done had he been put into better situations.
EDIT: Also forgot to mention that Coleman made the All-Hunter NL Decade team as one of three Starting Pitchers

Cons: Only averaged 11.8 wins for his career, only 3-All star appearances however this is likely explained by the low win totals playing for bad teams. As allstar voting tends heavily favour win totals

3. Mark Meng
Seaosns 1-14
Stats: 212-99 (2nd All-Time) 2765 IP (4th All-Time) 1988K (5th All-Time) 3.39 ERA 1.24 WHIP
Awards: 7-Time All-Star & 1 World Series Ring

Pros: As stated above for Coleman the ML average for ERA over the first 10 seasons ranged from 4.92-5.45. So Meng’s career ERA was a full two runs lower than the league average in some instances. Most agree a sub 4 ERA for a season is a very good year and a sub 3 ERA is a fantastic year. Meng had ten sub 4 ERA seasons and had four sub 3 ERA seasons. When Meng signed in with Scottsdale after Season 7 he inked the largest contract ever handed out to a pitcher (5 years/ 80M). This signing paid immediate dividends for Scottsdale leading a franchise that had previously never been to the playoffs to a championship. While pitching 40 playoff innings with an ERA of 2.95. Meng was the definition of a winner, teams he played for made the playoffs 12/14 season. Along with Coleman, Meng was named one of the 3 starters to the All-Hunter NL Decade team and just missed being named to the AL team as well

Cons: Despite being top 5 in several major pitching categories Mark Meng never won a Cy Young. After coming to the AL he played in the shadow of Feliepe Bournigal however he never took home the big trophy in the AL. Also nitpicking he only had one 20W season.

4. E. Molina
Seasons 1-14
Stats: 1591 R (3rd All-Time) 255 HR 1146 RBI 459 SB (2nd All-Time) .312 AVG .910 OPS
Awards: ROY, 3-Time RF Silver Slugger, 6-Time All-Star & 2-Time Gold Glove winner

Pros: Molina was a model of consistency over the first ten seasons of Hunter. In his first ten seasons he only batted below .300 once and hit between 20-29 HR eight times. It wasn’t till his 12th season that he failed to reach the 100 run plateau. Molina was a perfect top of the order hitter with a little bit of pop, great speed and the ability to get on base. That ability to get on base let him touch home plate more than all but two men (Angel Bolivar & Garret Biggio) in Hunter history. In addition to his bat he also played good enough defense to win two gold gloves in RF. Mr. Molina was also the extremely loyal sort playing every inning of his ML career for the same franchise. I believe that would be a first among all Hunter HOFs (provided he beats Rich Peters in…..more on him to follow). Like the three listed above him E. Molina also made the All-Hunter Decade team. He was a reserve for the NL, having been beaten out by Frank Zhang for the starting spot in RF.

Cons: Molina lacked the typical power found in an OF corner spot he is also the first player on this list to have never won a title.

5. D. Miller
Seasons: 1-11
Stats: 1131 R 283HR 1083 RBI 164 SB .306 AVG .953 OPS
Awards: 5-Time Silver Slugger SS, 5-Time All-Star & 3 World Series Rings

Pros: Miller is a 5-time AL Silver slugger winner and did so in only 6 full AL seasons. Some will point to Miller’s defense as being better suited for 2b or 3b myself included. However, it’s tough to argue with the Generals success with Miller manning SS, the Washington Franchise won it’s three titles with Miller at SS. If his defense didn’t hinder a championship team it’s difficult to hold it against his HOF candidacy. Miller was nearing the end of his prime when the world was generated (his fielding skills began to detiroate after season3), despite this fact Miller was still able to reach 1000R and 1000 RBIs for this career. While Miller’s stats won’t be as godly as some players on this list he fact he played an up the middle position on 3 championship teams makes him Hall Worthy in my books

Cons: Fielding skills were always below average for a a SS. For his career he had 35 negative plays vs. 4 positive plays at short. He was basically done as a ML hitter by Season 9, which brings up the question of how to evaluate hitters that were older when the world was generated. I think it’s safe to say most understand that CF/SS will have shorter careers as fielding ratings fall off a cliff early in a players 30’s

6. Derek O’Keefe
Seasons 1-13
Stats: 163-78 2301 IP 1824 K 3.15 ERA 1.18 WHIP
Awards: 1 Cy Young & 5 All-Star Appearances

Pros: Previously with Mark Meng, I mentioned sub-4 and sub-3 ERA seasons, I will do so once again with O’Keefe. O’Keefe had eleven seasons with a sub 4 ERA and three seasons with a sub 3 ERA. Those numbers seem pretty ridiculous in themselves but when you dig deeper you’ll see that for 10 of his 13 seasons his ERA was sub 3.4 Unlike other pitching greats O’Keefe didn’t tail off dramatically at the end of his career. In fact at age 41 he gave the TB (now Houston) franchise 128 innings of 3.09 ERA ball. O’Keefe managed all of the above despite being 29 when Hunter was created.

Cons: He never managed to win a championship however that didn’t mean he wasn’t in demand, he played for 10 different organizations in his career. His one Cy Young was likely a by-product of several seasons being split between two leagues.

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