Open Thread: Is Jorge Posada a Hall of Famer?


You’ve probably seen it by now, but Rob Neyer and Jonah Keri have been going back and forth about whether or not Yankees’ catcher Jorge Posada is a Hall of Famer. Neyer says nay, Keri says ay. Fortunately, we can some fancy statistics to compare Posada to other Hall of Fame catchers. I prefer using wins above replacement, or WAR. If you aren’t familiar with it, head over to FanGraphs’ glossary, scroll all the way down, and read the seven part series explaining how the stat works. If you’re not in the mood to do that, then just trust me that it measures offense and defense relative to position.

Since FanGraphs’ WAR data only goes back to 2002, we’ll get it from Sean Smith’s wonderful Baseball Projection site, which has WAR data going back to 1955. There are 12 catchers presently in the Hall of Fame, but just three (Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, and Carlton Fisk) played their entire career after 1955, so they’re going to be our basis of comparison by default. We can also add Pudge Rodriguez and Mike Piazza to that mix because they’ll certainly be enshrined in Cooperstown at some point.

The graph below shows each players’ WAR by season, starting with the best. Year One is the best season of the player’s career, Year Two is the second best season, Year Three is the third best, and so on. Plotting the data this way allows us to see how the players compare at their best, at their worst, and everything in between. Enough talk, here’s the graph. Make sure to click for a larger view.

Posada vs. Hall of Fame Catchers

As you can see, Posada’s clearly a notch below the other catchers. His three best seasons (2000, 2003, 2007) aren’t as good as the three best seasons of the five other players, and in general he’s been less productive over the course of his career. This isn’t meant to discredit Posada at all. A catcher who’s worth just about three wins or better in 9 of his 13 big league seasons is an incredibly valuable player, but his career hasn’t met the standards set by other Hall of Fame backstops.

The beauty of WAR is that it allows us to compare the value of players who play different positions since it uses the appropriate adjustments. Thanks to this, we can see how Posada’s career stacks up to the newest Hall of Famer, Mr. Jim Rice.

Posada vs. Rice

Well well well, look at that. Rice has Posada beat at his peak, but Posada has the advantage at pretty much every point after that. Rice amassed 42.9 WAR in his 16-year career (0.3 more than Mike Cameron), good enough for 133rd all time. Posada was sitting at 41.6 WAR in his 13 seasons coming into the year, and despite his hamstring injury he’s zoomed past Rice by putting up another 1.5 WAR this year, leaving his current career total at 43.1. With another two seasons left on his contract, Posada will leave Rice in the dust in all likelihood. Now, WAR doesn’t factor in fearedness, but I suspect that wouldn’t change much since it’s a load of crap.

Personally, no, I don’t think Posada’s a Hall of Famer. Hell, I don’t think he’s any better than a borderline candidate to have his number 20 retired. Hall of Very Good? Absolutely. Hall of Fame? Nah.

What do you guys think, is Georgie a HOFer? Talk about that, or whatever else you want here. Just be nice.

Categories : Open Thread


  1. Drew says:

    It would suck for him if RJ’s pen blows this. Why the hell did he come out after 78 pitches!?

  2. John says:

    Heh Ortiz is going to have his eyes checked

  3. Kevin S. says:

    Keep up the good work of reminding people how atrocious of a HOF selection Jim Ed truly is. Every time a borderline candidate gets mentioned, he’s compared to Rice and Rice gets smoked.

  4. John says:

    I read Keri’s article earlier and like his argument so Jorgie should be a HOFer

  5. Chris says:

    If Posada were to retire today, then I would have to say that he’s not a HOFer. The thing is, he could easily put up 3 seasons of 3+ WAR (2009-2011). Of he does that, then he starts to compare favorably to those other catchers. Of course, if he does that he will likely earn another contract and could keep building his resume.

  6. Drew says:

    Way to go Randy winn

  7. Jake H says:

    I just don’t see it. I want Posada to be in the HOF but I don’t think he will be unless he keeps up his production for the next 3 years.

  8. Peter Lacock (anyone that boos any Yankee is the enemy) says:

    Love Jorge but I’ve never seen him as one of the greatest ever. I lost interest in the HOF (and boxing) about 30 years ago when I felt it lost integrity. Willie Stargell and Billy Williams come to mind as good players that lowered the bar and it has gotten worse. With this in mind Posada should get in. Everyone else does.

  9. Chris A says:

    I don’t think Jorge is a hall of famer. I also do not think Jim Rice is a hall of famer, but I don’t think Jorge should go in just because he compares to another player who got in.

  10. kenthadley says:

    in the Yankee universe, Posada is up there with Elston Howard and Thurman Munson, but behind both Dickey and Berra……not HOF, but, like O’Neil, Bernie, Cone, Mattingly, Guidry, Heinrich, Reynolds, and Raschi, all of them all-time great Yankees….

  11. Drew says:

    2 outs away for RJ…

  12. Ed says:

    Posada career OPS/OPS+ = .861/124
    Pudge career OPS/OPS+ = .813/110
    Pudge OPS/OPS+ before his sharp decline (ignoring 2005 onward) = .837/115

    Pudge has a higher career batting average than Posada, but his OBP his a lot lower (.042) and his slugging is about the same as Posada’s. Pudge has substantial leads over Posada in counting stats, but they’ve come in over 50% more AB’s, making Posada’s pace more impressive.

    Pudge’s 1999 season and his half season in 2000 were amazing, but I think if you look at the rest of his career, it’s no where near as impressive as Posada’s. The big thing in Pudge’s favor is he became a full time catcher at 20, while Posada didn’t until 26, so there’s a lot more counting stats racked up.

    Now, my question – rather than comparing Posada to the greatest catchers ever, how does he compare to his peers? In addition to guys like Piazza and Pudge, how about Varitek, Javy Lopez, Ramon Hernandez, Bengie Molina, etc. And also the league average for catchers. How’d he compare to his peers as a whole? Comparing to the very best and saying he’s not quite as good isn’t the right way to look at it. Would you deny entry to every outfielder who’s stats don’t stack up with Barry Bonds?

  13. John says:

    The problem is that JoPo was never seen as the best of class and was overshadowed, I guess you could say, by the other stars playing for the Yanks. He was never considered as the most important player for us with Jeter, Bernie, Wells, Clemens, A-rod, Giambi, etc. playing and attracting more attention. Also, in the steroid era, he was never seen as the best catcher of his time with I-rod (who is inferior to JoPo offensively and is suspected of using roids but will be a HOFer), Piazza, and several others. We as Yankees fans have been spoiled by his superb play and found out how important he is last year when he got hurt. His stats are comparable to other HOfers such as Rice but it’s just that he never got the “HOF” reputation like Rice and some other players did being the “most feared” of their time.

  14. John says:

    If Jason Varitek even gets one vote of being in HOF, JoPo better be enshrined in it!

  15. Drew says:

    Randy Johnson in the 300 win club. Too bad he couldn’t stick as a Yank, a great pitcher nonetheless.

  16. pat says:

    RJ is mad awkward hugging everybody. Good for him though.

  17. Whatever happens, though, I hope the voters adequately assess Jorge’s career because I have a bad feeling he’s not going to get enough votes to stay on the ballot past year one of eligibility. That would be complete BS.

  18. Drew says:

    The book on JoPo is not closed. Let’s get 2 more rings, 4 more seasons (a couple at catcher), and then we’ll decide.

  19. fistpump says:

    Going by the pretty stats that everyone likes on the back of a baseball card…Posada vs. 13 HOF’s…Pudge and Piazza excluded here is how Posada stacks up:

    with a .278 avg he is better than 8 of the 13, his OBP is .380 or better than 10 of those 13. his SLG is .480 for 9 of 13, with 1411 hits he betters only 3 of the 13 but could pass another 3 putting him middle of the pack by retirement. With 229 HR’s and possibly 250 by retirement he would be better than 9 of them. His 909 RBI’s is 6th with a possible 7th in the end. And his runs are better than 5.

    Posada also boasts 4 rings and counting, while his contemporaries Carter, Fisk and Bench own 3 between them well…2 of them anyways. Posada also has caught more than a few HOF pitchers. With 2-3 years of hip hip Jorge in Pinstripes, we could see more rings and more Jorge… who knows.

    It may take the maximum amount of years like in Jim Rice’s case, or voters may only make Piazza and Pudge this era’s HOF catchers, but honestly it’s probably 50/50 he gets in but probably 30/70… which would be sad, because Jorge would be deserving.

    And #20 will be retired after his departure.

  20. The Artist says:

    Hughes in the Bullpen Indefinitely:

    It went largely unnoticed, but I thought this was the biggest story of the day. Brian Cashman said today that Phil Hughes will be working out of the bullpen until Brian Bruney comes back, not as a temporary backup for Chien Ming Wang. Here’s a quote from Brian, referring to their plans with Hughes:

    “We’ll see how this plays out over the next few weeks,” Cashman said. “It’s certainly tied to Brian Bruney.”


    He said it again on the LoHud pregame press conference, if anyone wants to hear it in its full context. He made clear the team still views Phil as a starter, as does Phil himself, but they will use him out of the bullpen until Bruney comes back. With the suspension of AJ Burnett coming down today, it’s likely Hughes gets at least one of those starts, so if Bruney gets healthy quickly its possible he sees very little action out of the pen.

    Mike Francesa said on his show that Hughes himself requested this. It’s not new, we all knew Phil wanted to stay in the bigs the last time his place in the rotation came up, and was quoted as saying so. But this appears to be a big shift from the Yankee brass, who seemed to be sending signals recently that after a short while, Hughes would be demoted to AAA.

    Bruney is at least a month away, he’s still playing catch at this point. If Bruney doesn’t come back at all, which is not unlikely given how many setbacks he’s had, Hughes would be in the bullpen the rest of the year.

    • Drew says:

      I’ve been of the opinion, since he came up, that Phil should go back to AAA and work on his change and perfect his cut. I guess he can work on it on his side sessions but he wouldn’t be experimenting out of the pen in real games. I hope this isn’t as long term as it seems, waiting for Bruney… Hopefully Marte comes back soon and puts us all at ease in the 8th.

      • The Artist says:

        You’re actually making the argument to put him in the bullpen, where he won’t need another pitch.

        • Drew says:

          no no no. I feel his cutter is already there. Perfecting that and his curve would make him a + pitcher. The changeup is there, but like Joba, he won’t use it often enough to be able to really rely on it. He’s able to pitch now. I almost side with him in the rotation rather than Pettitte, my opinion doesn’t matter to the organization though.

    • Ivan says:

      Wouldn’t they want Hughes innings up this season and see what he can do as a starter but most of all develop the pitches that will help him as a starter down the road. Making him stay in the pen relying on just two pitches doesn’t really help him.

      I understand that CMW has a chance to prove to the yanks he’s healthy and can pitch at a high level but still isn’t this sorta messin with Hughes development?

    • Accent Shallow says:

      I can certainly understand Hughes’ position — why would he want to go back to the minors when he can clearly help the team up here?

      Hopefully Bruney can return quickly, because Hughes as a one inning reliever is suboptimal.

      • The Artist says:

        That wasn’t the case in the 2007 playoffs, and he wasn’t even 100% or as experienced as he is now.

        I think where this really gets interesting is if he performs. If he is terrific (or even just very good) out of the bullpen, do you think they will still send him down in a month, even after they figure out Bruney’s not coming back? I don’t.

        If he performs, it will be very tough to put that Genie back in the bottle. Plus, he would need to be stretched out again, so might as well just leave him alone.

        • Drew says:

          We’ll make a trade or give some promotions way before we keep him in the pen for 3 months.

          • The Artist says:

            Maybe, but the deadline is still 8 weeks away. I think the smart GMs will wait until the end, since the economy is bad there will be teams desperate to shed payroll this year who will hand you a player if you’re willing to be patient. Cashman is very good at reading the market, I think he will wait.

        • Accent Shallow says:

          Playoffs are an entirely different situation, as you’ll see starters get shoehorned into the pen for a variety of reasons. (Ok, one reason: lack of space in the rotation, but there’s a variety of reasons for that lack of space)

          I can’t imagine the Yankees letting someone of Hughes’ potential pitch the entire year in the pen, especially when it looks like he’s starting to put it all together. They didn’t turn Joba into a setup man, why would they do so with Hughes?

          Sure, team need and all that, but Hughes as setup man in 2009 greatly impacts his chances of being an impact starter in 2010, 2011, etc. We’ve been over this with Joba ad infinitum.

          I see no reason why Hughes wouldn’t perform well in relief; he’s been 93-94 with the fastball the past few starts, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that bumped up in the pen. Couple that with the curve, and I can see him as an impact reliever.

          Unfortunately, this move seems to signal that he won’t be returning to Scranton this year, which I feel is a mistake. He needs to work on his cutter and change, and it’ll be tough to do out of the pen.

          • The Artist says:

            He can work on the change in Winter Ball. We’re trying to win a Championship with the 3rd worst bullpen in the AL.


            BTW-Red Sox are #1.

            • Accent Shallow says:

              Yeah, but the pen likely isn’t as bad as it has appeared, and there’s other guys who can be plugged into that slot (Robertson? Melancon? Bruney/Marte upon return from injury? Someone else from the minors? Veras?). Not that the Yankees shouldn’t use Hughes in the pen, just that I can’t see them putting him in there for the whole year if they have other options.

              If all other relievers turn into pumpkins, then I can see that happening, but there has to be precious little chance that an organization as smart as the Yankees turns someone who was recently the #1 pitching prospect in baseball into a reliever, especially when he plays such a big role in their plans for 2010.

      • Hopefully Bruney can return quickly, because Hughes as a one inning reliever is suboptimal.

        I don’t think “Hughes in the bullpen” and “Hughes as a one inning reliever” is really the same thing.

        I think they intend on pitching Hughes multiple innings as the first reliever replacing the starter as much as possible. I don’t think they intend to save Hughes for the 8th inning as the Bridge to Mowhere.

    • The Artist says:

      Here’s the full interview, for anyone who wants to hear it in full context.


      It sounds pretty open-ended to me.

  21. Whitey14 says:

    Hall of Famer Jim Rice. God I can’t hear that enough times. I can’t wait to get to Cooperstown in July for his much deserved and long overdue enshrinement.

    Now if only he didn’t talk like he has a mouthful of marbles when he’s on NESN ;-)

  22. Zack says:

    Jose Reyes has a ‘small’ tear in hamstring tendon? i think that’s right, heard it 5 mins ago and already forgot

  23. The Artist says:

    BTW-Mike, that first graph is tremendous. It would take 500 words to explain what that graph shows clearly.

  24. Lily says:

    posada is a hall of famer. now i don’t think he’ll get in the first time hes eligible but eventually two three times later he will get in

  25. Joey H. says:

    Yankee bias aside. I don’t see it happening. He’s been a great player and 20 will be retired out in monument park some day. He’s a Yankee hall of famer. Lets see how his ballot competition for Cooperstown.

    • The Artist says:

      How many of these numbers are we going to retire? Jeter’s #2 and Mo’s #42 are locks, Torre’s #6 will happen if he ever lowers himself to return to the stadium, and Bernie’s #51 will probably happen as well. We can’t do everyone. I’m sorry but O’Niell, Posada and Tino shouldn’t make the cut.

      • Steve H says:

        Posada still has time to get there, but I agree on the other guys. If (when) Posada wins another ring it obviously increases the odds. If he rings 2 more, definite.

      • I say yes to Jorge but no to Paulie or Tino.

      • Zack says:

        I understand O’Neill and Tino, but Posada is no different then Jeter in my eyes. No the stats arent the same, but Posada is a catcher so that’s not expected. Been here for a decade, 3 rings (hopefully more to come), they always labeled him as the real captain in the clubhouse.

      • Zack says:

        “We can’t do everyone”
        that’s not a valid excuse to leave people out in my eyes

        • The Artist says:

          Fine, tell Montero he’s wearing triple digits.

          • Bruno says:

            27, 28, 29, 99, 69. He’ll still have options.

          • Babe's Ghost says:

            Why does that matter?
            Don’t you think that’ll happen eventually? If any team in any sport were going to ‘run out’ of numbers which team do you think it will be? The Red Sox? The Knicks? Or the team that’s won more championships than any other, in any other sport?

            Speaking of championships. Why shouldn’t a ring count toward the Hall? Is it not an accomplishment above and beyond individual statistics? With the game tied in the ninth and a runner on second with no outs, wouldn’t you want someone to put winning the game first and give himself up to advance the runner?

            Also, as I read it the mythical replacement player is a standard construct -20 runs in 600 PA. I’m not sure that applies to the pre-steroid era. I’m also not sure how to compare Po to obvious juicers.

            • Speaking of championships. Why shouldn’t a ring count toward the Hall?

              Because plenty of great players never played on teams good enough to win, and many average players played on teams surrounded by other great players and won and levels not truly commensurate with their own individual talent levels.

            • Mike Axisa says:

              You can’t count rings because that depends far more on the other 24 players on the team than it does the individual, regardless of who that is.

      • Jake K says:

        Retire them all. When the numbers are used up, go to letters. Then symbols–numeric, religious, Prince.

      • I still disagree with you on this one, Artist.

        How many of these numbers are we going to retire?

        All of them. I like it. I like being able to have a huge wall full of numbers of all our great players. I want teams to be awed by all those digits in rightfield and monument park. I’d paint the numbers on the outfield wall, Dodgers style, if you let me.

        I like having the newbies come up and be shocked when they realize that damn near every number below 25 is now off limits because we have amazing history. I wouldn’t stop at Jeter, Torre, Posada, Mo, and Bernie, I’d retire 11 for Lefty Gomez too.

        1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 8 9 10 11 13 15 16 20 21 23 32 37 42 42 44 49 51

        That’s fuckin sexy. I’m VERY aroused.

      • JP says:

        I don’t like retired numbers. It’s done too much. I know it’s so ingrained in the minds of Yankees and their fans that it’ll never change, but it’s stupid that all of the single digits will be gone.

        I think it would look stupid for Melky to be wearing number 3 or Tex wearing 7, but I think you just go ahead and let all the numbers get used again. You can still have Ruth’s jersey with 3 on it hanging in a museum. It doesn’t cheapen it if someone else is wearing the number now. Don’t flame me, please…

        • jsbrendog says:

          i think that esp for current teams the number should be allowed to be worn until it is decided to be retired. that way you could have more than one of the numbers retired, like i blieve there are two 8s retired. It is not about what specific numbers are retired but how many retied spots there are, IE how many PEOPLE who ahve been great have come through here. numbers are mostly secondary.

          if there’s 25 names retired and 4 or 5 duplicate numbers because when bernie retired a few years later hsi number was given to ajax then so beit.

          I do believe however that those “special” numbers should only be given to younger talent brought up with the chance to be great. IE Hughes, Joba, Ajax, Montero. dont force thme but give thme the option because thats what numbers should be retired, players we developed and came up through the system and have bene yankees. I love paul oneill and tino martinez but each of them played too much of their careers elsewhere to be even considered for number enshrinement (plus theyre just not all time yankee greats but just great players while thye were here)

  26. Moshe Mandel says:

    I think it depends on whether you are a peak value voter or a career value voter. Peak value he is hard to keep out, as his peak places him among the top 10 catchers of all time. Career value is tougher, because he got his real start at 26 and was only the full time guy by 28, so in that sense he may need a few years. I think a point that also needs to be mentioned is that players are supposed to be judged against their peers, and over the span of his career, you could argue that he has been the best catcher in baseball- standing in 1998, if you needed to pick a catcher for the next 12-15 years, you almost certainly take Jorge. I think he deserves to get in, and he will likely hang around on the ballot for a while.

    • JP says:

      I tend toward looking at career value as sort of a “prerequisite”…you need a certain amount of career value to prove you were durable, etc., but that the majority should be peak value. Obviously, peak value can’t mean one season, it should ideally mean the player’s best 5 seasons or so. And I agree that even with all the advanced metrics we have today, the best comparisons are with your peers, not historical comparisons.

      The problem I have with Jorge for the hall is not offense. I think he’s been an underrated offensive player. TSJC said he was comparable to Pudge offensively. Maybe at Pudge’s steroid-peak of 2-3 seasons, but even then, Pudge was an impatient hitter…Jorge overall is a much, much better offensive catcher than anyone in his time except Piazza at the beginning and Mauer now.

      Where I have a problem with Jorge for the hall is defense. I’ve never thought of him as anything better than average, probably he’s below average. He’s poor at blocking balls, and with the exception of that first season with Pena on the team coaching him, he’s been a poor throwing catcher.

      His arm is totally shot right now…and this is not a small issue. It’s going to be huge in the playoffs, and it’s a genuine problem.

  27. Drew says:

    Go Lakers

  28. Jake K says:

    The downside of day games…tumbleweeds rolling through RAB.

  29. Nick says:

    Well, before last year I’d say no, but frankly with Jim Rice getting in, the floodgates are open. Hell, put in Bernie too if Jim Rice is the new ground floor.

  30. Reality Check says:

    Why the hell is “Pudge= Steroid Juicer” even discussed in this context? Of all the juicers, including Big Mag, Sosa, etc. he is THE MOST OBVIOUS user (he practically disappeared down a shower drain the year they started testing). Yet for some reason all the brilliant sportswriters never mention it. It drives me insane. Jorge clean was almost as good as “I am no longer Pudge” on roids. Sportswriters are idiots.

  31. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    Another save for Melvin today, but sad news too, Melvin walked one batter and had 0 strike outs, but no hits allowed.

  32. BklynJT says:

    I didn’t get a chance to see the game today; can anyone tell me how Wang’s pitches were? How were the runs that he gave up? Ground balls?

  33. Man. No one should have to be in class from 6 to 9, when you’re already hungry, and listen to the professor talk about the cultural history of food and why Italian and Chinese food is so popular in the US…

  34. CP3 says:

    I was just wondering, where is bubba crosby?

  35. Steve O says:

    A Jax with his first of many homers on the year.

  36. Bryan says:

    No DOTF tonight? Or is it just late?

  37. Don’t know if anyone’s gonna catch this but I’m throwing it out there:

    Very Emergency! by The Promise Ring is a kickass album I forgot about.

  38. JP says:

    I think Jorge has always been an under-appreciated player, outside of the Yankee universe.

    But not a Hall of Famer.

    Nor is Jim Rice.

  39. Stryker says:

    man, conan in LA is weird. still getting used to it.

  40. The one who signs his name -Scott says:

    I think we have to wait. Posada may have many years left to contribute, probably not all at the catcher position. DH-1B-RF-PH down the road?


  41. George says:

    I don’t think he’s a HOF’er just yet but I do think his 20 should be retired at Yankee Stadium.

  42. [...] Is Jorge Posada a Hall of Famer? / Wang Decision on Yankees’ Part? [...]

  43. Phil says:

    If he ends up with .270 AVG / 290+ HR / 1100 RBI / 1900-2000 HITS, He’s looking pretty good. If he ends up with .270 AVG / 300 HR / 1100 RBI / 2000 HITS, He’s a lock.

  44. [...] are Posada will never be a Hall of Famer. He just doesn’t have the sexy numbers. But if he finishes this year strong and puts up a [...]

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