Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Case for Jeff Bagwell

The Case for Jeff Bagwell making the HOF seems to be a pretty clear cut one to me.

While his younger years don’t compare to Eddie Murray or George Brett in terms of WAR, the middle of his career was actually superior, and just look how his career WAR arc compares to Jim Rice. He twice led the league in WAR (1994 and ’99) and is 37th all time in WAR among non-pitchers. That puts him ahead of Johnny Bench, Ken Griffey Jr., Brooks Robinson, Derek Jeter, Pete Rose, Paul Molitor, Reggie Jackson, Tony Gwynn and Duke Snider. Bagwell is about 3 career wins behind Joe DiMaggio. He posted season with a WAR above 8 three times during his career, was above 5.0 nine times, and had greater than 3.5 a whopping 13 times during his 15 year career.

Bagwell was MVP in 1994, finished second in 1999 and third in 1997 and is 35th all time in career MVP win shares, placing him ahead of names like Roberto Clemente, Mel Ott, Johnny Bench, Carl Yastrzemski, Ernie Banks, Derek Jeter, and Cal Ripken Jr.

He was in the top 10 in homeruns (while playing in the cavernous Astrodome) seven times. He was in the top five during four seasons, and finished second twice. He led the league in runs scored three different times (’94,’99 and 2000) and finished his career with over 1500 runs, which used to be an almost automatic qualifier for the hall. Bags also finished his career with a .297/.408/.540 slash line placing him ahead of Reggie Jackson, Carl Yastrzemski, Rafael Palmeiro, and Jim Rice in all three categories. *Correction* Jim Rice had a career average of .298 so Bagwell is .001 behind him there.

Finally, Bagwell posted a career walk rate of 14.8% (which is considered excellent) and his BB/K ratio was 0.899, which is also considered excellent. Not only did he hit for average, and power, but he was patient at the plate and was willing to put himself on base with a walk, which is a stat that I feel is severely underrated in evaluating a player's effectiveness.

Bagwell finished his career with a wWAR of 197.2, which is well ahead of the HOF median of about 127. Here's another Adam Darowski post to clarify just what wWAR is.

I’ll leave you with a comparison by Adam Darowski at Beyond The Box Score

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