Ed Barkowitz of the Philadelphia Daily News writes today that Jamie Moyer is “entering the Hall of Fame conversation.” The case is not a surprising one: wins and age. He’s lasted forever and thus he’s starting to get near big names in the win column, Barkowitz basically says, so that makes him a legitimate contender for Cooperstown.
I don’t think Moyer is a Hall of Famer (more below) but I actually think Berkowtiz’s wins rationale does Moyer’s case a bit of a disservice. Moyer’s famous longevity has done more than merely produce wins for himself. Longevity and durability is a value to a team in and of itself in that, the more often and more regularly he takes the hill, the better off the team is in terms of resource allocation and all of that kind of stuff. I’m not a stat guy so I won’t risk mangling the statistical case, but know that Moyer’s longevity has provided an aggregate value to his employers that isn’t fully captured by merely reciting his win totals.
But no, I still don’t think it’s enough value to be considered a Hall of Famer. Maybe I’d consider using my (imaginary) vote for him if he did something truly unique like hung around until he was 50 and got his 300th win (at some point sentimentality and round numbers do affect me), but Moyer is really just the ultimate longevity-guy, and I don’t think I could ever vote for someone who never had even a short Hall of Fame peak.
I think that’s ultimately where the BBWAA will come down too. He’ll get some votes as thanks for being a good guy and a nice story, but he won’t get serious consideration. Which isn’t to say he hasn’t been a heck of a pitcher — he has — just that he hasn’t really made himself worthy of enshrinement among the elites.
We’re not talking the 100 meters here. We’re talking practical baseball sprinting. That’s defined by the StatCast folks at MLB as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” while sprinting for the purposes of, you know, winning a baseball game.
StatCast ranked all players who have at least 10 “max effort” runs this year. I won’t give away who is at the top of this list, but given that baseball’s speedsters tend to get a lot of press you will not be at all surprised. As for the bottom of the list, well, the Angels don’t pay Albert Pujols to run even when he’s not suffering from late career chronic foot problems, so they’ll probably let that one go. I will say, however, that I am amused that the third slowest dude in baseball is named “Jett,” however.
Lately people have noticed some odd things about home run distances on StatCast, suggesting that maybe their metrics are wacko. And, of course, their means of gauging this stuff is proprietary and opaque, so we have no way of knowing if their numbers are off the reservation or not. As such, take all of the StatCast stuff you see with a grain of salt.
That said, even if the feet-per-second stuff is wrong here, knowing that Smith is faster than Jones by a factor of X is still interesting.
All-Star voting ends this Thursday night, just before midnight eastern time. The All-Star teams — at least how they’ll appear before the dozen or two substitutions we’ll get before the game — will be unveiled on Sunday at 7pm on ESPN, just before Sunday Night Baseball.
Which means you still have time to alter these standings, which now stand as the final update before things are set in, well, not stone, but at least some Play-Doh which has been left out of the can too long and is kinda hard to mess with.