Linkage: Chapman, Kikuchi, HOF, PitchFX


A bevy of links that warrant a mention, but not their own posts…

  • As you’ve probably heard by now, Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman is in New York to visit with several GM’s. Both the Yankees and Mets are expected to meet with him,  and the Red Sox definitely will. Speculation is that he’ll get $40-50M, but I bet he ends with closer to $15M. In the end, he’s still just a minor league pitcher that’s a year or two away from the big leagues.
  • In other amateur lefthanded pitcher news, Japanese teenager Yusei Kikuchi may announce his intentions to either stay in Japan or come to the States in the coming days. Ben wrote a bunch more about Kikuchi and the Yanks over the weekend.
  • Who do you think is a better Hall of Fame candidate: Johnny Damon, or Bobby Abreu? Rob Neyer thinks it’s Damon, I’m going with Bobby. There’s only 40 players in the history of the game that have reached base 4,000 times in their career, and 38 of those players are in the HOF, or will be soon. Abreu should reach that total within three years.
  • This isn’t Yankee related, but it’s a great piece on Cardinals assistant GM John Abbamondi, who discusses the place of advanced analysis in baseball. Nick Steiner at THT highlights part of the article where Abbamondi talks about how they use PitchFX data to supplement the evaluations of their scouts. Fascinating stuff.
Categories : Links


  1. Said this last night but it bears the repeating. In Best American Sportswriting 2009 there’s a long article (originally in vanity fair) by Michael Lewis about baseball in Cuba, about the murkiness of defecting and all of that.

    Worth a read and throws Chapman into an entirely different light.

  2. Who do you think is a better Hall of Fame candidate: Johnny Damon, or Bobby Abreu? Rob Neyer thinks it’s Damon, I’m going with Bobby. There’s only 40 players in the history of the game that have reached base 4,000 times in their career, and 38 of those players are in the HOF, or will be soon. Abreu should reach that total within three years.

    Joe Posnanski, from July (emphasis mine):

    Joe Posnanski’s Top 100 Baseball Players

    57. Bobby Abreu, OF, Angels
    I have long called him the most boring great player in baseball history, and with his power numbers dwindling it has never been more true. But he still works pitchers to death (.399 OBP) and steals bases (19 in 23 attempts).


  3. Mike HC says:

    The Damon/ Abreu Hall of Fame thing: I think Abreu has the slightest of edges stat wise, but Damon has a huge edge in impact on the game. He was the maybe the head “idiot” and on the Red Sox team that broke the “curse.” That is legit historical. Now he has a good shot to win one with the Yanks too. Damon’s numbers, plus the two (?) WS, and just his “Jesus,” “idiot,” “curse breaking” narrative puts him over Abreu in my opinion.

    • It’s the whole “soft factor” thing that’s going to get Schilling in and keep Mussina out.

      • Mike HC says:

        And the two World Series championships. One in which he had that (fake?) bloody ankle. The Hall is about numbers, but also impact on the game. Numbers are important, but so are WS wins, no matter how hard it is for one players to win one without good teammates.

        Does Mussina get the soft wrap? I guess an intellectual in baseball might get labeled soft if he is introspective at all, but I thought Moose always had a rep for being pretty mentally tough.

      • pat says:

        Usually the whole “soft factor” keeps alot of guys out. Happens to the best of us after a few too many. Tommie knows what I’m talkin about.

    • larryf says:

      hard to believe the sox won it all with Damon in center. Proves you don’t need an arm out there to win it all…

      • Mike HC says:

        Hitting grand slams can make up for the arm … thanks for reminding me, or I guess I reminded everyone first … my bad.

  4. kel says:

    I think they both belong in the Hall, along with Moose. Not Schilling though.

  5. Tank Foster says:

    An OPS+ of 132 for a career is pretty strong. Abreu could play CF and was good at it early in his career, but I think he’s let himself go downhill a bit physically and is obviously a poor outfielder now. Haven’t looked closely at his stats but he doesn’t have high level power by today’s standards, and his formidable offensive stats aren’t quite as impressive when viewed in context of the high offense era in which he’s played. Still, an OPS+ of 132 and 11 straight seasons without a serious injury is strong work. He’s borderline for me.

    Damon? OPS+ of 105 for a career, 205 HR in the homer happy era? How can he be a HOF player?

    • Tank Foster says:

      Correction: Abreu played _some_ CF, and while he never had great range factors, he was a decent OF with a good arm as a young player. Now he’s a lousy outfielder with a good arm.

      • Tank Foster says:

        Batting order doesn’t mean much, which means having special distinction as a good “lead off man” isn’t, in my opinion anyway, something that should factor in deciding whether someone is a Hall of Fame player. The question is, how much did he contribute to his team’s success? I do believe you have to compare apples to apples, meaning you don’t exclude Ozzie Smith from consideration because he didn’t hit 500 homers. But an outfielder is primarily valuable as an offensive force, and you start there, comparing him to other outfielders. A “speed” player like Damon – who I agree has power – to be considered hall of fame caliber, I think, should have an exceptionally high on-base average or OPS+. I don’t think Johnny’s are HOF caliber in those departments.

        I like him. He’s one of my favorite players, though.

        • Mike HC says:

          fair enough. I can’t really disagree with any of your points. I do think that Abreu has the stat edge, which I may have understated a bit, but I still believe the narrative for Damon is strong enough to put him over the top. It is not like Abreu’s numbers are so mind blowing for his era as to erase any doubt.

          I can understand that if you are just doing a stat analysis, Damon has a weak case.

          • Tank Foster says:

            And don’t get me wrong – I like Damon. In fact, I like him better than Abreu. See my comment further down….

            • Mike HC says:

              I think that should be a contributing factor into the Hall of Fame in my opinion. Playing hard, sacrificing your body, should get credit. The impact a guy has on fans, like you and me, should be a factor. The WS championships should be a factor.

              • Playing hard, sacrificing your body, should get credit.

                Sure. But if Player A doesn’t play hard or sacrifice his body, but still vastly outproduces Player B who does play hard and sacrifice his body, Player A is still more Hall-worthy than Player B. Style points count, but not more than actual substance counts.

                The impact a guy has on fans, like you and me, should be a factor.

                No. Too many of us are stupid. No.

                The WS championships should be a factor.

                No. Unfair to players who play on bad teams that don’t make it to the playoffs.

    • Mike HC says:

      Damon was a center fielder, lead off hitter, speed player. The standard for lead off hitters are not how much power they hit for, and for a lead off hitter, Damon was actually quite powerful.

  6. BC says:

    I think Damon definitely has the edge because of his postseason heroics. Abreu may have the edge in numbers, but numbers do not make the candidate. Damon has been better with the media, and is often portrayed as a clubhouse asset who has helped to lighten the mood in the clubhouse of the Red Sox in 04, and the 09 Yankees clubhouse. He has been a leader even though his skills have clearly diminished, especially his defense.

    • I think Damon definitely has the edge because of his postseason heroics.

      You might be right. It’s dumb, but you might be right.

      Abreu may have the edge in numbers, but numbers do not make the candidate.

      Agreed. They should make, like, 85% of the candidate, though. Possibly more.

      Damon has been better with the media, and is often portrayed as a clubhouse asset who has helped to lighten the mood in the clubhouse of the Red Sox in 04, and the 09 Yankees clubhouse. He has been a leader even though his skills have clearly diminished, especially his defense.

      All of that is (or at least should be) utterly and totally irrelevant.

      • Mike HC says:

        Do you really think leadership should be completely irrelevant? Is it irrelevant if a guy causes a problem everywhere he goes, as opposed to guy who who is an “asset” in the clubhouse. How about the impact that a guy has on fans, like Damon with the Sox, and how much MLB decides to market a certain guy. I think the Hall of Fame is about more than stats. It is also a bit about being an ambassador for the game. I don’t think that stuff should be first, but do you really think that it should b “utterly and totally irrelevant?”

        • It’s not the Major League Baseball Hall of Leadership. It’s the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

          I don’t care how much of a team leader Johnny Damon was, he’s not a good enough player to stand with the all-time greats.

          • Mike HC says:

            ok, but not considering Damon, just in general. Two guys are exactly the same, but one has caused problems everywhere he went, and the other guy played for two teams, both of which he was the team leader, and both fan bases completely loved the guy. Would you not consider those extra things if the two candidates are even everywhere else?

  7. CountryClub says:

    Didn’t Contreras get 32 mil from the Yanks? With Chapman being lefty and young, I would think he’ll at least approach that number.

    I hope you;re right though. I like the gamble for the Yanks much more if the deal is under 20 mil.

    • Mike HC says:

      I do tend to agree with you a bit, but Contreras was marketed as a ready to go from the get go ace. With Chapman, he won’t contribute to the major league club for a couple of years and there is a projection aspect to it, rather than a ready made product like Contreras was supposed to be.

      • Exactly.

        There’s gotta be a discount factored into the Chapman negotiations since he’s so raw and unready.

      • JMK aka The Overshare says:

        Definitely true. However, I’m not sold that he’ll only get $15 mil. Plenty of teams, I suspect, would be more than willing to dole out more than $15 mil. for a lefty fireballer under the age of 22. Based on potential alone, and the fact that it’s IFA, I say he gets at least $25 million. Just my thoughts, though; I’m usually wrong when it come to these things.

  8. Tank Foster says:

    I think Abreu has the slightest of edges stat wise…

    I think Abreu has a big edge, not a slight one, stat wise.

    In two fewer seasons, Abreu has: about 50 more homers, 30 more doubles, 390 more walks, and the same number of RBI+RS. Damon has: 27 more steals, 300 more hits, a few more triples.

    Abreu may close the gap where he trails if he plays longer than Damon, which he may, since he’s a year younger.

    For me, OPS+ is the telltale stat though. Damon’s career high OPS+ is 123, this season, and he has never been over 120 before this year. 2/3 of Johnny’s full seasons have been over 100, the other third under 100. Abreu posted OPS+’s over 130 for his first seven consecutive full seasons. He’s never been below 100 in a full season, and his career average is nearly 10 points higher than Johnny’s best.

    • Mike HC says:

      ha, I think you got me here. It is more than slight. I forgot how much of a power hitter Abreu was earlier in his career. But you do have to take into account that Damon was a lead off hitter and not a middle of the order guy like Abreu. But you are right.

  9. A.D. says:

    As Neyer notes the obvious answer is neither, but the numbers probably say Abreu, however this is your Jim Rice hall of fame, where being “feared”, “clutch”, and random milestones determine if you get in the hall.

    Thus Damon has the best shot, since neither should get in, the guy who has won the WS titles, been at the center of attention, and could get 3,000 hits, has a far better chance because of random milestones & the media remembering/liking him, especially when compared to a guy who has just put up consistent numbers year after year, is considered lazy and lacks conditioning, and basically was traded for a bag of balls by Philly.

    • Never forget: we’re dumb.

      The guys who put Jim Rice in the Hall of Fame

    • Mike HC says:

      When it comes to winning ball games, no doubt, you should forget about everything but numbers and production. But for the hall of fame, it is also about remembering the game. People love sports because of the narrative, not only just to watch guys stats accumulate. While the narrative can and should be dismissed when making baseball decisions, for the Hall of Fame, the narrative should be included in my opinion. I can see how people would feel differently though.

      • I’m not saying narrative has no place when considering Hall worthiness.

        I’m just saying it should occupy a small, small, small place of the discussion, because so, so much of the narrative we believe in is false and backwards. Narrative makes Jim Rice seem like a better player than Ken Singleton, when the only effective difference between them is that Jim Rice played on a socially significant team, and Ken Singleton (by and large) did not.

        • Mike HC says:

          i get it and fair enough, but I think you are giving it such a small amount of consideration that in practical effect, you are completely ignoring it. Which is fine, everyone has a right to decide how belongs in there own personal hall of fame.

        • Tank Foster says:

          The Orioles were not a socially significant team in the 70s and 80s? I think the reason Singleton goes unnoticed is that, as Bill James pointed out years ago, he has skills that, while now well-recognized, in his time were less well appreciated. He had lots of small skills, and his “notable” skills like power were not of the league-leading variety. Rice had a much narrower range of skills, but his big skill, power, was the best in baseball, or nearly so, for many years in his career. So he is more memorable.

          I’m picking nits–I agree with what you’re saying about what you call “narrative;” there is a place in HOF voting for things like postseason performance, someone breaking a social barrier, someone’s role as a player ambassador or as a poster boy for a great team, etc., and I agree it should be a relatively small part of the total package.

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

          Ken Singleton has a ring……Jim Rice does not. I truly believe the final reason Jim Rice got in, was because the Red Sox finally won a couple of World Series. With those wins, it changed enough of the sportswriters perspectives of Rice and made him a winner through default.

          • rbizzler says:


            Combined with the Red Sox media department openly campaigning for Rice by putting together stat packets about his career and the Boston writers choosing to keep his candidacy on the front burner.

      • A.D. says:

        It’s not that it shouldn’t be included, it shouldn’t be the main reason. No one should be getting into the hall of fame because of their narrative.

        On top of that, how many great players don’t have a narrative? Is there really a player out there that has redic numbers and didn’t get in because of lack of narrative?

    • Tank Foster says:

      I agree with you sorta. I don’t want to land in that bullshit dump of “gritty-ness,” but I hate watching Abreu play, and I love watching Damon play.

      Abreu tiptoes and winces and comes up lame as he approaches the wall for a fly ball. Damon barrels after the ball (with all the grace of Barbara Bush this year, but that’s beside the point) and crashes, slides, or falls, as needed, to make the catch.

      In big situations at the plate, Abreu seems to look for the walk. In ANY situation at the plate, he seems to look for the walk. Yeah, I know, that’s a good thing. But Damon stands up there and battles the pitcher with his bat, too, has 63 different swings, including smooth uppercuts, hacks, slashes, slaps, punches, and tomahawks, and uses whatever he can to get hits. Just when you least expect it, he “yanks” a big homer.

      If I had to choose either guy in his prime, I’d take Johnny. I’d look for other options for the power I’d be missing with Abreu.

  10. Chris says:

    I’m curious how quickly Harper could make it to the majors. For comparison, A-Rod was drafted in 1993 and made his major league debut in 1994. Is that the sort of prospect that Harper is, or would he take longer to advance because he’s a catcher?

  11. steve s says:

    Regarding Damon/Abreu for HOF, I’d vote for Al Oliver and Vada Pinson before either one of those guys.

    • Al Oliver – .303/.344/.451 (121+)
      Vada Pinson – .286/.327/.442 (110+)
      Bobby Abreu – .299/.404/.493 (132+)

      Over Johnny Damon? Sure. Over Bobby Abreu? No.

      • Tank Foster says:

        Al Oliver was enshrined in his inner, personal Hall of Fame some time in 1975.

        • steve s says:

          Need to consider a “steriod” era adjustment to Damon/Abreu’s numbers.

          • OPS+ is relative to league average. It’s already steroid-adjusted.

          • Tank Foster says:

            OPS+ kind of does that.

            But you’re right….the big difference is to look at homers.

            Oliver played 16 seasons of 100 games or more, and hit 219 career HRs. If we over-correct and up that by 20%, he’s at 261 for 16 seasons. Abreu has 256 in 12 full seasons. Advantage, Abreu, still pretty large.

            As for overall offense…I looked at league runs scored, and for much of Oliver’s career, the team average per game in the NL was 4. For Abreu’s career, it has been about 4.8 runs/game.

            Al Oliver’s career average of runs created is 92 per 162 games, so in a full season, he produced all the runs a team of his era would score in 23 games.

            Abreu’s career average of runs created is 125 per 162 games, so in a full season, he produces all the runs a team of his era would score in 26 games.

            Even in context, Bobby Abreu is a better offensive player than Al Oliver was. When you consider speed, on-base percentage, the fact that Abreu has been far more durable than Oliver was, it isn’t really even close.

            • steve s says:

              Thanks for taking the time to do the analysis. I agree now that Abreu was a better offensive player than Oliver. Perhaps I focused on the wrong Pirate and should have said Dave Parker instead although I’m pretty sure no one would consider Parker a viable HOF possibility.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

        Al Oliver wore number 0.

        That’s all, no more to add.

  12. Reggie C. says:

    Milton Bradley > Damon > Abreu

    - Is it crazy to contemplate trading for Bradley in the offseason? think about it. Bradley is only a season removed of OPS .999 with the Rangers in 414 AB. He’s signed for the 2010 and ’11 season. He’s 31 years old. He’s a RF (conversion to LF isn’t crazy). He might be alittle high-strung and vocal, but the antics wouldn’t be out of place with Swish’s jumping and Burnett’s pie flinging going on.

    Trading for Bradley wouldn’t cost much in terms of prospects. B level stuff. It seems the Cubs are motivated to ship him.

  13. Doug says:

    But Mike, isn’t the point of Neyer picking Damon the fact that every eligible player with 3,000 hits (well, save one) is in the HOF. Other than that, he thinks Abreu has had a better career.

  14. RobC says:

    Commenting probably long after this thread is done but how about neither in the HOF along with a lot of guys already there.
    It is the hall of fame not the hall of very good not the hall of great.
    For a mental exericse would you send Abreu or Damon up to hit if the pitcher was Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Sandy Koufax, or Bob Gibson?

    In reverse would you send Mo out to pitch if the line up had Ruth, T Williams, Cobb and Joe Dimaggio?

  15. [...] we found out that Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman was coming to New York to speak with various GM’s about potential employment, it was only a matter of time before we [...]

  16. [...] Yanks were supposed to meet with Cuban southpaw Aroldis Chapman over the weekend, but the lengthy ALCS pushed that meeting [...]

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.