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Vladimir Guerrero retires - Hall of Famer?


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#1 Danny_Darwin

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 08:48 AM

Didn't see discussion elsewhere - Apparently this happened a few weeks ago, but most news outlets are just learning about it now: Vladimir Guerrero has officially announced his retirement (Spanish-language link). Granted, he hadn't played in two years, and his 2011 season was pretty miserable. But still - he's got a decent case for enshrinement: .318/.379/.553, 449 HRs, 140 career OPS+, one MVP and three other top-five finishes. Also, he was memorable and fun to watch, and I think that's the kind of thing voters think about (rightly or wrongly) when voting. I say he gets in, but maybe not first ballot.



#2 BigMike


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Posted 15 September 2013 - 09:10 AM

I say yes, and by a much wider margin than many of the players we have talked about  (Helton, Ortiz). 

 

I think he is a first ballot guy; although, I guess you already have Mo on the ballot that year, 



#3 Lefty on the Mound


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Posted 15 September 2013 - 09:21 AM

Vlad will be eligible for enshrinement in 2017. Even though he just retired, he last played a game in 2011. No worries about "competing" with Mariano in his first year of eligibility.

#4 Soxfan in Fla


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Posted 15 September 2013 - 12:58 PM

His defense and especially arm were damn good until his legs started getting hurt, also had quite a number of stolen bases. I remember being terrified of him when we faced the Angels in the playoffs. I agree that he should be first ballot. Ok, let me amend something, 125 errors in the OF is not good, 126 OF assists is good.

#5 BrunanskysSlide

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 05:30 PM

I think he gets in.

That MVP season in 2004 was great.  He was simply so crucial to that Angels team making the playoffs.  He hit .337 – over .30 points higher than the next best on the team.  Essentially the entire rest of that starting team was .300 or lower.  Both his OBP and OPS were over 100 points above the closest teammate.  He scored 30 more runs than David Eckstein.  He had 30 more hits than Chone Figgins.  He was nearly 2.5 runs more important (bRaf WAR) than his closest teammate.  Unfortunately, for the Angels, Vladmir shit the bed in the ALDS and hit .167 (2 for 12), although doubled his nearest teammate with 6 RBIs.   Overall, he was in the top 4 of the standard triple crown categories (.337/39/126) for the year.

He’s currently tied for 36th on the all-time HR list.  Some people he’s ahead of on that list: Andre Dawson (Vlad hit for a higher BA, OBP, SLG, and OPS and his speed wasn’t horrible); Al Kaline, Johnny Bench, Jim Rice…

He batted a point better than Todd Helton with much more power and was faster on the base paths, especially in the early part of his career.

I subjectively remember him having a cannon as an arm, as mentioned above.  But I also just looked and he left the league in errors in RF for several years. 



#6 CaptainLaddie


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Posted 15 September 2013 - 05:37 PM

I absolutely think he's in.  He was a terror at the plate and had one of the best arms I've ever seen.  The big question is if he goes in with a Expos cap.



#7 phrenile


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Posted 15 September 2013 - 05:43 PM

I subjectively remember him having a cannon as an arm, as mentioned above.








#8 BrunanskysSlide

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 05:57 PM

That last video of him messing around is pretty sweet.  That was like a 360 foot toss. 

 

Edit: missed the title while watching it embedded...apparently it was 370.  Google Earth was close though. 


Edited by BrunanskysSlide, 15 September 2013 - 06:04 PM.


#9 threecy

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 05:59 PM

I would say if Andre Dawson and Jim Rice are in, then Vlad should be as well.



#10 MentalDisabldLst


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Posted 16 September 2013 - 12:09 PM

When I'm considering a borderline HOF case like Vlad's, it helps that he has a couple of things going for him besides the hitting stats and 60 career bWAR:

 

- A unique, inimitable approach at the plate: would swing at anything, would sometimes flail wildly, but could also hit anything

- Incredibly memorable moments, like the grand slam to tie ALDS Game 3 in 2004 (without him, DLowe never wins that game!).  We were terrified of him all series and those fears came to roost (only briefly, mercifully).

- Defensive excellence, playing his entire career in RF until injuries made him a DH in 2010 at age 35.

 

He's got everything that the writers always claim to want, too - was always the best hitter on his team, was known for hustle, well-liked by the media / big smile, etc.  I think the BBWAA should have no problem voting him in on an early ballot.



#11 John Marzano Olympic Hero


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Posted 16 September 2013 - 12:19 PM

- A unique, inimitable approach at the plate: would swing at anything, would sometimes flail wildly, but could also hit anything

 

 

Wah? So because he was undisicplined at the plate, you would use that as a check mark to get in the HoF?

 

- Incredibly memorable moments, like the grand slam to tie ALDS Game 3 in 2004 (without him, DLowe never wins that game!).  We were terrified of him all series and those fears came to roost (only briefly, mercifully).

 

 

Take it easy speaking for all of us, Bill Simmons. Guerrero hit 167/286/417 that series, so I'm not sure why you so afraid of him. But you're right, he did hit a grand slam in a game that his team ultimately lost. In the ALDS. We're not talking Reggie Jackson and three World Series dingers or Schilling and his sock here.



#12 MentalDisabldLst


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Posted 16 September 2013 - 12:57 PM

Wah? So because he was undisicplined at the plate, you would use that as a check mark to get in the HoF?

 

He alone of all the MLB players I've ever seen had the contact skills to get away with being undisciplined.  It made pitching to him a uniquely challenging experience.  The ball he hit off Timlin to tie ALDS game 3 was at his toes; we'd all seen him club things a foot outside or at his shoulders that year and for years after in Anaheim.  He was a uniquely gifted hitter.  I think uniqueness and style count for something, at least in my own assessment.

 

It's not a requirement, obviously.  Many people in the Hall had little that uniquely defined them about their style of play; they were just better at doing what everyone tries to do.  But it helps in the corner cases.

 

Take it easy speaking for all of us, Bill Simmons. Guerrero hit 167/286/417 that series, so I'm not sure why you so afraid of him. But you're right, he did hit a grand slam in a game that his team ultimately lost. In the ALDS. We're not talking Reggie Jackson and three World Series dingers or Schilling and his sock here.

 

Right, we shut down the eventual MVP of the league.  And despite that, in all the game threads of that series, every time he came to bat, people were hyperventilating about how paranoid they were.  I'm not speaking for all of you - the SoSHers spoke for themselves.  No one expected that we'd do as well against him as, in hindsight, we ended up doing.

 

But that GS was a pretty memorable moment, no?  What would be your other nominees for Vlad's "most memorable moment"?



#13 John Marzano Olympic Hero


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Posted 16 September 2013 - 01:14 PM

He alone of all the MLB players I've ever seen had the contact skills to get away with being undisciplined.  It made pitching to him a uniquely challenging experience.  The ball he hit off Timlin to tie ALDS game 3 was at his toes; we'd all seen him club things a foot outside or at his shoulders that year and for years after in Anaheim.  He was a uniquely gifted hitter.  I think uniqueness and style count for something, at least in my own assessment.

 

 

I don't know man, I hear what you're saying but I don't think that you have to go that far with Guerrero. In my eyes, he's a better than marginal candidate for the Hall of Fame. He was consistently great/very good for a long time and I don't think that his unorthodox hitting style should be used to help him get into Cooperstown. Because for every ball he hit off his shoetops, there are countless plate appearances where someone threw three straight balls way the hell out of the strike zone that Vlad whiffed on and looked terrible. That's kind of the dual edge to this comparison.

 

Right, we shut down the eventual MVP of the league.  And despite that, in all the game threads of that series, every time he came to bat, people were hyperventilating about how paranoid they were.  I'm not speaking for all of you - the SoSHers spoke for themselves.  No one expected that we'd do as well against him as, in hindsight, we ended up doing.

 

 

If you look back at those threads in the 04 Playoffs, people were pissing themselves that Tony Clark was going to beat us. Again, I understand where you're going, but rantings from an obviously insane fanbase aren't the evidence that you're looking for. At least, I don't think it is.

 

But that GS was a pretty memorable moment, no?  What would be your other nominees for Vlad's "most memorable moment"?

 

 

I guess it was a memorable moment, much like Wade Boggs taking Dave Stewart deep in Game 1 of 1990 ALCS was. But it's just an at-bat in anotherwise forgettable series for Guerrero. And much like his wide strike zone, if you bring up that he hit a grand slam in Game 3, the next question is: what did he do for the rest of the series? Not very well.

 

I don't think that Vlad Guerrero has a real memorable moment, at least not one that I can think of. 2004 was a pretty long, extended moment as were most of his Angel seasons. His Montreal years were long, extended moments. Some of his years in Texas were pretty special too. And I think that's the point of Guerrero (and baseball in general) which is watching a great hit or pitch, at bat after at bat, day after day, season after season is memorable in and of itself. It's why I loved watching Manny hit or Pedro pitch and yes, these guys have had their moments but at the same time each day they went out and kicked ass. I'm not an Angels, Rangers or Expos fan so I don't have Vlad's moments on the tip of my tongue (I know there are times he brutalized the Sox) but I think that his day-in and day-out brilliance is enough for his HoF candidacy. Not every player can be boiled down to one moment, and that's okay.



#14 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 16 September 2013 - 01:50 PM

Guerrero may have had an ultra-wide strike zone, yet he wasn't, by the numbers, a hacker. His career walk rate of 8.1% was just barely below average for the leagues he played in, and over his 10 prime years (age 24 through 33) he averaged 9.5%. This, as well as his power and excellent contact skills, played a part in his outstanding career OBP of .379.

 

I think he's probably in, but first ballot might be a stretch. I don't think he's a shoo-in, I think he's on the cusp. But probably on the right side of the cusp.



#15 Euclis20

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 02:13 PM

That walk rate is affected quite a bit by his 250 intentional walks(more than a 3rd of his total BBs), good for 5th all time.  Take those away, his walk rate drops to 5.5%, which is pretty bad.

 

The more impressive thing is, despite his rep as a hacker, he struck out far less than most sluggers.  He never had more than 95ks in a season, and had a career k rate of 12.1%, solidly ahead of nearly all active players with 400+ home runs:

 

Alex Rodriguez:  18.2%

Manny Ramirez:  18.5%

Albert Pujols:  9.7%

Adam Dunn:  28.3%

Jason Giambi:  17.6%

Paul Konerko:  14.4%

David Ortiz:  17.9%

Alfonso Soriano:  21.1%

 

Looking at their walk rates (again, removing intentional walks from the equation):

 

Alex Rodriguez:  10.2%

Manny Ramirez:  11.6%

Albert Pujols:  9.6%

Adam Dunn:  14.7%

Jason Giambi:  14.4%

Paul Konerko:  9.0%

David Ortiz:  11.5%

Alfonso Soriano:  5.1%

 

Vlad is relatively unique among his fellow sluggers...only Pujols struck out less, and nobody walked less (although he was essentially tied with Soriano).  That counts for me, in a good way.  He should make it in, even if his basic counting stats don't really distinguish himself in this era.


Edited by Euclis20, 16 September 2013 - 02:33 PM.


#16 MentalDisabldLst


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Posted 16 September 2013 - 02:55 PM

Not every player can be boiled down to one moment, and that's okay.

 

Fair enough, but if we're talking about the likelihood he gets elected to the Hall, it probably helps to have some big, Sportscenter-suitable moments.

 

I don't think he's a slam-dunk no-doubter on stats alone, but I think it's probably pretty likely he'll get in on the first couple tries.  I do think the way he played the game will help his odds.  It's unprovable either way, I suppose.



#17 Danny_Darwin

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 04:13 PM

I am a bit surprised that the board is in this much agreement. Like I say, I'd vote him in, personally. But I'm not sure the BBWAA will see it the same way. He doesn't have the round numbers that the traditionalists love, and his advanced-stats case isn't airtight either (this Jonah Keri piece has details on that towards the end). Given that he played an offense-heavy position during an offense-heavy era, and given that guys like Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza have had trouble getting inducted, I can definitely see him facing a bit of an uphill battle. 

 

In that case, yes, I imagine that voters will consider his memorable moments - throwing the ball over the wall in Yankee Stadium! Hitting a home run off of a pitch that bounced in the dirt! - as points in his favor. It shouldn't have to come to that, but it could.



#18 maufman


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Posted 16 September 2013 - 05:35 PM

Barring PED revelations, I think Vlad is a shoo-in. The only question is whether he makes it on the first ballot.

 

 

I am a bit surprised that the board is in this much agreement. Like I say, I'd vote him in, personally. But I'm not sure the BBWAA will see it the same way. He doesn't have the round numbers that the traditionalists love, and his advanced-stats case isn't airtight either (this Jonah Keri piece has details on that towards the end). Given that he played an offense-heavy position during an offense-heavy era, and given that guys like Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza have had trouble getting inducted, I can definitely see him facing a bit of an uphill battle. 

 

In that case, yes, I imagine that voters will consider his memorable moments - throwing the ball over the wall in Yankee Stadium! Hitting a home run off of a pitch that bounced in the dirt! - as points in his favor. It shouldn't have to come to that, but it could.

 

 

No player since 1920 has played as many games as Guerrero, finished with a .318 BA, and not gotten into the Hall. Vlad is in the top 50 all time on Bill James's "Hall of Fame Monitor" (which measures likelihood of induction, not merit). Vlad is also 5th all-time in intentional walks, which will support the narrative that he was one of the most feared hitters of his generation (even though that isn't necessarily true). The traditionalists will be fully on board with Vlad's candidacy.

 

If there is opposition, it will come from the more statistically-inclined voters. Vlad is 99th all time in oWAR  (behind guys like Carlos Beltran and Bobby Abreu who will never get into Cooperstown without buying a ticket), and the advanced stats suggest he was a below-average defender. 


Edited by maufman, 16 September 2013 - 05:36 PM.


#19 NHbeau


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Posted 16 September 2013 - 05:46 PM

threecy, on 15 Sept 2013 - 6:59 PM, said:

I would say if Andre Dawson and Jim Rice are in, then Vlad should be as well.

 

 This might be the worst reason to ever elect someone to the HOF. I get your meaning, and in this case I think Vlad is a superior player to either of the two you mentioned but this thinking leads to some really astonishing HOF inductees. I could make a pretty good case for several middle infielders thanks to Phil Rizzuto being in the HOF. Doesn't mean they belong.

maufman, on 16 Sept 2013 - 6:35 PM, said:

Barring PED revelations, I think Vlad is a shoo-in. The only question is whether he makes it on the first ballot.

 

 

 

 

No player since 1920 has played as many games as Guerrero, finished with a .318 BA, and not gotten into the Hall. Vlad is in the top 50 all time on Bill James's "Hall of Fame Monitor" (which measures likelihood of induction, not merit). Vlad is also 5th all-time in intentional walks, which will support the narrative that he was one of the most feared hitters of his generation (even though that isn't necessarily true). The traditionalists will be fully on board with Vlad's candidacy.

 

If there is opposition, it will come from the more statistically-inclined voters. Vlad is 99th all time in oWAR  (behind guys like Carlos Beltran and Bobby Abreu who will never get into Cooperstown without buying a ticket), and the advanced stats suggest he was a below-average defender.

 

 And my eye's have always told me that Vlad was probably above average his career when you factor in his arm and range when he was young. No whiff of PED use should seal the deal for Vlad.  



#20 threecy

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 08:27 PM

 

 This might be the worst reason to ever elect someone to the HOF. I get your meaning, and in this case I think Vlad is a superior player to either of the two you mentioned but this thinking leads to some really astonishing HOF inductees. I could make a pretty good case for several middle infielders thanks to Phil Rizzuto being in the HOF. Doesn't mean they belong.

For what it's worth, Rizzuto was selected by the Veterans Committee.

Dawson came to mind because of their similarities - power hitting outfielders who, in their prime, were also known for their defense (Dawson won 8 Gold Gloves) and speed (Vlad topped out at 40 steals vs. Dawson at 39), and each one an MVP.  438 career homers for Dawson vs. 449 for Vlad.  Both were also significantly hampered by knee problems later in the career, to the extent that both were basically hobbling around the field.



#21 LogansDad


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Posted 17 September 2013 - 10:12 AM

Pretty good article from Joe Posnanski yesteray on Vlad: http://joeposnanski....ad-impaler.html
 

It is written in a more "joy of watching him play" tone, but brings up some of the points expressed in this thread.  The comparison to Helton is eerie and one of his readers actually brings up how Vlad compares to Abreu (as in, their overall WAR stats are nearly identical). 

 

For me, I think I would put Vlad in the same boat I would put Helton in, very close but not quite enough to get in.  He does have the MVP award that Helton doesn't, which I think may sway the voters a bit, but the only categories that he is top 40 in all time are Home Runs (good), Intentional Walks (meh), and Errors among OF's (bad... and all of these are according to B-Ref just FYI).  If you got top 50 you add Total Bases, Slugging Pct., and OPS.  (I realize top 40 and 50 is pretty arbitrary, and I apologize for that).

 

I honestly don't know what the BBWAA will do in regards to any of these guys (Vlad or Helton really... I imagine Abreu won't sniff the hall), but personally, I think they are both just on the outer cusp.


Edited by LogansDad, 17 September 2013 - 11:12 AM.


#22 threecy

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 10:56 AM

Pretty good article from Joe Posnanski yesteray on Vlad: http://joeposnanski....ad-impaler.html
 

It is written in a more "joy of watching him play" tone, but brings up some of the points expressed in this thread.  The comparison to Helton is eerie and one of his readers actually brings up how Vlad compares to Abreu (as in, their overall stats are nearly identical). 

 

For me, I think I would put Vlad in the same boat I would put Helton in, very close but not quite enough to get in.  He does have the MVP award that Helton doesn't, which I think may sway the voters a bit, but the only categories that he is top 40 in all time are Home Runs (good), Intentional Walks (meh), and Errors among OF's (bad... and all of these are according to B-Ref just FYI).  If you got top 50 you add Total Bases, Slugging Pct., and OPS.  (I realize top 40 and 50 is pretty arbitrary, and I apologize for that).

 

I honestly don't know what the BBWAA will do in regards to any of these guys (Vlad or Helton really... I imagine Abreu won't sniff the hall), but personally, I think they are both just on the outer cusp.

 

I'm scratching my head on that one....931 vs .837 OPS, 449 vs 287 HR...



#23 LogansDad


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Posted 17 September 2013 - 11:11 AM

 

I'm scratching my head on that one....931 vs .837 OPS, 449 vs 287 HR...

 

Sorry should have been more specific, the reader was comparing various WAR stats (oWAR, dWAR, WAR)... I will fix the original post.






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