Tag Archives: Bill James

Another look at pitchers

Since I’m on a Hall of Fame jag, I want to dig deeper into the subject of pitchers, who gets in and who gets out. I only included one pitcher, Masahiro Yamamoto, on my 2021 ballot, and perhaps I should more carefully examine the credentials of a few other pitchers on the ballot.

In the first run-through, I looked to see how often pitchers were elected into the Hall of Fame based on their MVP, Sawamura, and Best Nine Awards, and also on three measures using Bill James’ Win Shares: career value, the average value of their five best seasons, and the average value of their three best seasons.

Next year’s big new names will be two pitchers whose quality went largely overlooked because they played for weak offensive teams in hitters’ parks, Hiroki Kuroda and Daisuke Miura. But while I’m at it I’ll try and right a wrong and have a look at the pitchers I passed over in my 2021 ballot.

For a slightly different look, I’m doing pitcher Hall of Fame points that I’m going to call “career highlight points” because unlike Win Shares, anyone can count them. These are as follows:

  • MVP award: 3 points
  • Sawamura Award: 2 points
  • Leading the league in wins: 2 points
  • Leading the league in saves: 2 points
  • Best Nine award: 2 points
  • Key pitcher on a championship team (40+ games or 100+ IP): 2 points
  • Each 100 career wins: 5 points
  • Each 40 career saves: 1 point

So far, each of the 18 eligible pitchers with 21-plus career highlight points is in the Hall of Fame with the exception of the scandal-hit Yutaka Enatsu. Eight of the 12 players from 17 to 21 are in. Below 16 and it’s fuzzy.

Here are the breakdowns for the Win Shares measures:

  • Career WS above 233: 20 out of 21 in Hall
  • Best 5-year stretch average above 24 WS: 12 out of 13 in Hall. Essentially an old-timers category since the last pitcher in that group retired in 1988.
  • Best 3 season average above 29 WS: 12 out of 13 in Hall (see above).

Hiroki Kuroda

  • Highlight points: 10 – 58th
  • Career Win Shares: 244 – 13th
  • Avg WS Best 5-year stretch: 17.1 – 54th
  • Avg Best 3 seasons: 21 – 59th

As an exercise, let’s start with Kuroda.

Because of his career win shares value, the former Carp ace seems like a shoo-in, but his peak value is not as great as some of his contemporaries, and he lacks the eye-catching things like playing for multiple championship teams and winning MVP awards and so has just 10 career highlight points

Kuroda’s Wins Shares profile is similar to recent experts’ division selection, Taiyo Whales ace Masaji Hiramatsu and his contemporary, Yakult Swallows ace Hiromu Matsuoka, who has struggled on the experts’ ballot. The obvious difference? Hiramatsu had a famous pitch, his “kamisori” (razor) shoot, had two big seasons and 21 career highlight points while Matsuoka has just nine. Hiramatsu was not a lot better but LOOKED a lot better, and now he’s in.

In Kuroda’s favor, the Hall of Fame voting system is different from when those two retired in the mid-1980s, and he was both popular and a durable, successful major leaguer. My guess is he won’t have to wait for the experts’ division ballot to get in. Matsuoka’s “fault” was to be consistently good for a long time without having at least one more big year when everyone was talking about how great he was.

Here’s how the the players on the ballot this year and next year compare:

NameLast seasonHighlight PtsCareer WSBest 5-year stretchBest 3 seasons
Hiroki Kuroda20161024417.121.0
Masahiro Yamamoto20152622613.718.8
Daisuke Miura2016721115.118.6
Masumi Kuwata20071719119.624.2
Shinji Sasaoka20071517214.418.9
Fumiya Nishiguchi20152216916.018.5
Kazuhisa Ishii20131016613.617.5
Kenshin Kawakami20152013615.018.4
Shingo Takatsu20101612010.114.0
Takashi Saito2015919214.720.6

Again, this is not about who I want to see in the Hall of Fame, but rather an effort to answer the question “Who does the Hall of Fame think belongs?”

By the established standards, Hiroki Kuroda, Masahiro Yamamoto and Fumiya Nishiguchi are all Hall of Famers, and Kenshin Kawakami and Masumi Kuwata are likely to get in at some point.

Win Shares sees Miura as being better than Nishiguchi and way better than Kawakami, but he lacks the career highlights that will likely make their resumes sing to the voters. As it is Miura is probably going to fall about one good, not great, season short of getting in on career value.

You decide

Here is a table of every pitcher who is eligible to be in the Hall of Fame, and is not currently on the players’ division ballot who has a career Win Share total as high as the lowest of any pitcher in the HOF, former Carp closer Tsunemi Tsuda. An “E” in the HOF column indicates they are currently on the experts’ division ballot. HOF indicates an original member, and a year indicates when they were inducted.

I would like to say who has a chance to get on a ballot again and who is out of chances, but that’s a huge project, and anyone who is in uniform again as a coach or manager has a chance to get back on the experts’ ballot.

Name RName JHOFLast NPB gameHighlight Pts.Career WS5-year peakBest 3
Masaichi Kaneda金田 正一1988196952459.332.536.9
Takehiko Bessho別所 毅彦1979196050359.231.738.4
Yutaka Enatsu江夏 豊198448294.322.225.1
Kazuhisa Inao稲尾 和久1993196944312.73641.3
Hisashi Yamada山田 久志200619884132226.930.1
Masaki Saito斎藤 雅樹2016200140236.321.628.6
Keishi Suzuki鈴木 啓示2002198537381.227.932.9
Minoru Murayama村山 実1993197235242.122.830.5
Hideo Nomo野茂 英雄2014199334236.119.1624.5
Kimiyasu Kudo工藤 公康2016201033234.913.420.3
Tsuneo Horiuchi堀内 恒夫2008198329188.617.220.8
Osamu Higashio東尾 修2010198829254.81724.8
Shigeru Sugishita杉下 茂1985196128250.132.336.4
Manabu Kitabeppu北別府 学2012199428213.72023.8
Victor Starffinスタルヒン1960195525139.419.526.7
Tetsuya Yoneda米田 哲也2000197724318.521.627.5
Choji Murata村田 兆治2005199023255.623.726.4
Kazuhiro Sasaki佐々木 主浩2014200522170.315.0418.4
Masaaki Koyama小山 正明2001197321324.624.528.2
Masaji Hiramatsu平松 政次2017198421236.518.826.1
Suguru Egawa江川 卓198721165.723.826.5
Hiroshi Nakao中尾 碩志1998195720126.314.420.8
Kazumi Takahashi高橋 一三198220174.615.922
Takumi Otomo大友 工司196019136.223.228.8
Hideo Fujimoto藤本 英雄197619551818526.131.7
Motoshi Fujita藤田 元司1996196417117.11724.8
Tadashi Sugiura杉浦 忠1995197017198.126.534
Mutsuo Minagawa皆川 睦男2011197117234.219.225.9
Kazuhiko Endo遠藤 一彦199217177.92024.1
Yutaka Ono大野 豊2013199817233.415.418.6
Tadashi Wakabayashi若林 忠志196419531681.216.223.7
Takao Kajimoto梶本 隆夫2007197316245.921.125.7
Shigeru Kobayashi小林 繁198316153.120.123.2
Akio Saito斉藤 明雄199316182.516.319.5
Kuo Yuen-chih郭 源治199616169.316.219.9
Hisao Niiura新浦 壽丈199215148.516.221
Hideki Irabu伊良部 秀輝200415125.213.518.8
Jyuzo Sanada真田 重蔵1990195614202.73138.4
Susumu Yuki柚木 進195614130.418.620.7
Mitsuhiro Adachi足立 光宏E197914203.916.120.9
Tomehiro Kaneda金田 留広198114141.517.722
Kei Igawa井川 慶20141491.514.0616.1
Yoshiro Sotokoba外木場 義郎2013197913155.116.125.4
Fumio Narita成田 文男198213181.118.723.4
Tokuji Kawasaki川崎 徳次195712182.319.428.2
Gene Bacqueバッキー196912117.52126.5
Yoshinori Sato佐藤 義則199412174.614.818.2
Joe Stankaスタンカ19661192.815.919
Noboru Akiyama秋山 登2004196711189.420.624.9
Yukio Ozaki尾崎 行雄197311102.718.724.6
Takashi Nishimoto西本 聖199311198.721.124.2
Atsushi Aramaki荒巻 淳1985196210195.321.427.5
Hiroshi Gondo権藤 博201919681085.716.325.3
Shoichi Ono小野 正一197010179.822.327.4
Hiromi Makihara槙原 寛己200010193.714.518.4
Senichi Hoshino星野 仙一201719829133.316.220.7
Hiromu Matsuoka松岡 弘E19859232.621.422.8
Kazuhisa Kawaguchi川口 和久19989172.515.719.5
Yukihiro Nishizaki西崎 幸広20009163.216.220.3
Kunio Jonouchi城之内 邦雄19748132.318.620.6
Yasuo Yonegawa米川 泰夫19597144.519.825.8
Ryohei Hasegawa長谷川 良平200119637239.428.633.1
Masaaki Ikenaga池永 正明1970712122.926.6
Shigeo Ishii石井 茂雄1979716517.422.7
Hideyuki Awano阿波野 秀幸2000798.717.424.5
Masato Yoshii吉井 理人20077151.113.0414.9
Masahide Kobayashi小林 雅英2011790.110.4412.9
Tadayoshi Kajioka梶岡 忠義1955614819.327.6
Michio Nishizawa西沢 道夫19771958624324.829.3
Kiyoshi Oishi大石 清19706125.719.324
Naoki Takahashi高橋 直樹19866196.123.827
Akinori Otsuka大塚 晶則20036105.911.0415.6
Satoru Komiyama小宮山 悟20096139.511.5216.8
Yoshio Tenbo天保 義夫19575113.41723.4
Masayuki Dobashi土橋 正幸E19675155.121.727.1
Shigetoshi Hasegawa長谷川 滋利19945148.112.7215.6
Tsunemi Tsuda津田 恒美20121991479.910.816.8
Giichiro Shiraki白木 義一郎19523132.22632
Masao Kida木田 優夫2012386.86.712.7
Takeshi Yasuda安田 猛19812125.217.720.6
Shigeaki Kuroo黒尾 重明19550114.416.522.7
Kentaro Imanishi今西 啓介19550102.219.724.3
Zaichi Hayashi林 義一19580128.919.624.3
Jyunzo Sekine関根 潤三200319650172.613.919.9
Keiichi Yabu藪 恵市20100108.311.612.4

Logic-defying rants

More logic-defying Ramirez rants

Tuesday saw another attack on Alex Ramirez’s managing, this time from Nikkan Gendai, which claimed it was appropriate to fire the DeNA BayStars skipper at the conclusion of this year’s one-year contract.

The article claimed people within the team are now talking about Ramirez being out, and that former ace and current minor league skipper Daisuke is the logical choice to succeed him

The article argues that Ramirez is the reason that the BayStars have scored fewer runs than the Giants despite similar offensive numbers.

“The (BayStars) batting average tops the league, and they are second in home runs. Yet they are fourth in the league and have scored 27 fewer runs than the Giants. One cannot argue with the reasoning that the difference is down to the managers.”

–Unnamed former BayStars player

As I’ve written before, whenever one sees an article by a former player for a team arguing that the manager should be fired, one should consider the possibility that the player in question is ripping the manager so that the new regime will hire coaches including the former player himself or former teammates who desire coaching positions with the club.  

In regards to the logic, the data bears up under scrutiny. The BayStars are essentially as good as the Giants at getting runners on base and advancing them and have scored fewer runs. But saying the difference between the two managers’ skill IS the difference and saying that conclusion is arrogant beyond words.

Let’s look at this in a different context. Let’s say we have two batters. Over five seasons, Player A has batting averages of: .289, .330, .307, .319 and .275. Player B’s averages over the same period are .248, .290, .270, .265 and .295.

In the current season, Player A bats .275 and Player B bats .295. What person, with any understanding of the randomness of batting averages, would conclude that Player A is batting .275 because he is an inferior hitter? No one, that’s who. Yet that is essentially the argument against Ramirez, that everything he has done the past four years is irrelevant and ONLY this year’s offensive underperformance is the true indicator of the manager’s quality.

That is analogous to the BayStars’ offense this year. They have underperformed their projected runs scored by one run, while the Giants have overperformed by 31 runs. But calling it Ramirez’s fault is stupid because over the past five seasons, his teams have outperformed expectations more than any in the CL.

Since 2016, when Ramirez took over, the BayStars’ offense has averaged scoring 27 runs per season more than its Bill James Runs Created projections. Over the last two seasons they are an average of 20.5 runs above expectations. This is exactly the same figure for Giants skipper Tatsunori Hara.

Team2020 RS2020 RC5-year average above RC
DeNA42342427
Yakult39537617
Hiroshima42641116
Hanshin40737316
Chunichi34932915
Yomiuri45041912
Teams sorted by their average Runs Scored – Runs Created

The thing is the BayStars’ have an active analytics department, and unless their boss is as ignorant and or politically motivated as the former player who contributed to this story, then they will look at Ramirez and see they have something special.

Ramirez’s problem is compounded by a poor win-loss record relative to their actual offensive and defensive results. Given the runs they have scored and allowed, the BayStars should be 48-45-5 this year, five fewer wins than they have actually managed.

If you look at the team’s underlying credentials, what they actually do, and how their talent base has actually expanded under Ramirez, then claiming he should be fired is just an appeal to populism without logic.

The same player argues that Miura is a credible candidate because his team is second in the Eastern League, which I will admit is a positive. The other argument given is that the BayStars farm team is leading the EL in sacrifice bunts. This is an opaque attack on Ramirez, who bunts less than any other manager in the CL.