In one of the more interesting projects out there, the Baseball Think Factory has gone through the trouble of collecting the publicly announced ballots of the voting sec of the Baseball Writers Association of America and projecting the percentage of Hall of Fame votes each player will receive.
Note: Because the announcement of induction will be made tomorrow, ballots are rapidly becoming public. This references percentages from a snapshot in time and may not reflect what their real time statistics say.
The surprising but not super unsurprising news: the Baseball Think Factory does not project anyone to be inducted in 2013. There is good news for individual players: Craig Biggio projects to be the closest to induction with his infield mate Jeff Bagwell right behind him, while Tim Raines‘s numbers continue to climb after a disappointing first year on the ballot. The news for former Phillies, however, is not so great. Here’s a look at their odds.
A three-time All-Star with the Phillies, sometimes it is easy to forget the outspoken, Alaskan-born righty was once in red and white pinstripes. Schilling’s breakout season came in 1992, posting a 2.35 ERA as a swing-man for the Phillies. Schilling started 26 games, throwing 10 complete games, but also threw in 16 games as a reliever, leading baseball with a 0.990 WHIP.
Schilling was dominant with the Phils after four seasons of shuttling back and forth between the Majors and Triple-A, three with Baltimore and one with Houston. While it is particularly easy to remember Schilling’s childish behavior during the 1993 World Series or his outspokeness in his desire to leave town, Schilling posted a 101-78 record, with a 3.35 ERA and 61 CG for the Phillies for atrocious clubs.
Schilling’s 216-146 win/loss record isn’t as sexy as it could be, in part, because of his time on bad Phillies’ teams, but the following stats are: his 4.38 to 1 K/BB ratio is the best ever since 1884 and his 11-2 record with a 2.23 ERA in the postseason is the stuff of legends. Yes, Schilling never won the Cy Young, but his two of his three second place finishes came behind two even historically greater years from Randy Johnson. Schilling is 17th all-time in Baseball-Reference’s version of Win Probability Added and 26th all time among pitchers for bWAR, 63rd among all players.
Schilling passes the eye test and the extra exam: he looks and feels like a Hall of Famer and has a series of memorable post-seasons to add to his regular seasons (1993 NLCS, 2001 WS, 2004 post-season). He will get in eventually but it probably won’t be this year according to Baseball Think Factory. The more interesting question will be what hat does he wear when he gets inducted: his most memorable moments came as a Red Sox but he spent the largest chunk of his career with the Phillies. 2013 projected vote share: 37.6%
Murph is in his fifteenth year in the ballot, an accomplishment that is as remarkable as it must be frustrating for Murphy. Last year, Murphy racked up 83 votes, his highest tally in 11 years. In his final year on the ballot, Murphy’s family has gotten involved, launching a pretty touching on-line campaign, detailed here by Jerry Crasnick, where Murphy’s wife and children have been making the appeal that so often the character clause is used to exclude players from the Hall of Fame but it is rarely exercised to put players in the Hall of Fame.
The voting pattern for Murphy has been, well, crazy. Murphy reached 23.2% in 2000, only to drop to 8.5% by 2004. Last year’s 14.5% mark was his highest since 2002 (14.8%). Murphy’s credentials obviously haven’t changed since then, but it seems to be more of a trend of persons who extensively covered Murphy dropping out of the Hall of Fame voting pool rather than voters deciding not to vote for Murphy.
Murphy has a lot of hardware: two consecutive MVPs, five straight Gold Gloves, and four straight Silver Sluggers. Murphy is also very lucky that his best ten years were comfortable nestled inside an easy to digest decade. Advanced stats don’t reflect as favorably on Murphy as they do Schilling: Murphy ranks tied for bWAR’s 358th all time, between J.D. Drew on the low end and Mark Grace on the high end.
Murphy hung around long enough to spend two and a half years with the Phillies, narrowly missing their 1993 pennant run. Any contribution in 1992 from Murphy could, and likely, would have accelerated their growth, but Murphy reached the plate just 63 times in 1992, battling a series of knee injuries, leaving the playing time in right to mostly Ruben Amaro and Wes Chamberlain, but also Braulio Castillo Jim Linderman, and Tom Marsh. Yikes.
My question with Murphy is: how much does the electorate penalize Murphy for not being the clear best of a very weak decade? If not much, Murphy, along with Raines, should be on the cusp of induction but narrowly miss this year. If a lot, Murphy should reasonable get around 30% of the vote. 2013 projected vote share: 21.6%
Four players on this list will likely fall off the ballot this year. One definitely will (Murphy) regardless of what happens and the most undeserving is Lofton, one of the least deserved “one and done” Hall of Fame ballot appearances ever. Lofton racked up six straight All-Star appearances, four straight Gold Gloves, ten years of 30 steals or more, and a career triple-slash line of .299/.372/.423. How does a lead-off hitter who got on base nearly 40% of the time not get in the Hall?
Lofton is 104th among players all-time in bWAR and 113th among hitters all-time for fWAR, just ahead of Billy Hamilton and Shoeless Joe Jackson and just below Richie Ashburn and Mike Piazza. Lofton’s second most comparable player according to B-R is Tim Raines – should Raines get in, which I believe he will, Lofton’s candidacy in turn will get stronger. But Lofton faces the very real possibility of falling off of the ballot completely this year with the glut of deserving first-time eligible players.
So what exactly hurts Lofton’s chances? The fact that there are well more than ten first-time and greater eligible players that quite frankly are also Hall of Famer caliber. It is not Lofton’s one season as a Phillie (3.9 fWAR), but Lofton is hurt by the fact that he was on many good teams but never consistently on one team and never won a World Series. Falling just below 2,500 hits probably hurt as well. 2013 projected vote share: 2.4%
Mesa is the Phillies all-time saves leader, racking up 112 from 2001 through 2003. Mesa will likely fell well short of returning to the ballot in 2014 and risks getting no votes with an unusually crowded group of first timers (24 players). Mesa was an All-Star just twice and has the 14th most saves of all-time with Lee Smith, third all-time, on the ballot, barely gaining any traction. 2013 projected vote share: 0%, although he may receive a vote or two from the Ohio contingent
Most of Conine’s professional baseball identity is that of a Marlins player. The face of their franchise until he was traded to Kansas City in the Great Roster Purge of 1998, Conine was twice the Marlins’ All-Star representative and returned to the team via trade in 2003 to be a part of their second championship run. Conine was a spark-plug in 2006 for the Phillies, contributing a .280/.327/.390 in 107 PA down the stretch, as the Phillies fell short of catching the Wild Card-winning Dodgers by three games.
Conine’s surprisingly solid .285/.347/.443 line with 214 HR is definitely not good enough to place him among the greats but, like Mesa, is almost a guarantee to be once-and-done. Unlike Mesa, Conine will likely end up with a vote or two from the Florida contingent of voters. 2013 projected vote share (from BTT): 0%, although, I believe he will get one or two votes.