Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Is Jorge Posada a Hall of Famer?
With the Yankees quagmired in injury and mediocrity lately, let us turn our attention to something a little more fun and interesting.
Question: Is Jorge Posada a Hall of Famer?
Well, let’s consider the numbers. By the time Posada is done, he should be close to, if not in the top 15 players who played the games at catcher. Taking someone who caught a similar amount of games—Ernie Lombardi, a Hall of Famer, inducted by the Veteran’s Committee in 1986—we see very similar numbers. Lombardi had a remarkable lifetime .306 BA, whereas Posada has a not-too-shabby .278. Posada has more power though with 350 doubles, 249 HRs and a .483 slugging percentage. Lombardi had a 277 doubles, 190 HRs and a 436 slugging percentage. In the fielding department, it’s generally a tie. Posada has a .992 fielding percentage and a 29 caught-stealing percentage, to Lombardi’s .979 and 44%. Posada has 5 World Championships to Lombardi’s one—where he really wasn’t a factor and only had 4 AB. Where Lombardi shines thought is in these numbers: 3 times in his career, Lombardi had more HRs than Ks in a season. Posada has never done that. Lombardi has a MVP, while Posada only came in third place once for the MVP.
But perhaps the most telling stat is OPS+, since they played in such different times. Both have 125+ exactly.
A more contemporary example is Johnny Bench. A .267 lifetime BA (Posada .278), Bench put up a .476 slugging percentage (Posada .483) and an OPS+ of 126 (Posada 125). Bench had a .990 lifetime fielding percentage to Posada’s .992, though Bench was awarded 10 Gold Gloves in a row—even in 1968 when he led the league with an astonishing 18 passed balls and had 9 errors. Where Bench really wins is in his home runs—389 HRs, with 351 coming as a catcher. Posada trails mightily in that department with his 249.
Another interesting case is Ted Simmons, like Posada, a switch-hitting catcher. Simmons, not a Hall of Famer, has some startlingly good numbers. Simmons played 1771 games at catcher and batted .285 with 248 HRs. An 8-time All-Star, Simmons had a .989 fielding percentage and a 34% CS rate, leading the league twice in runners caught stealing. And like Posada, he twice led the league in assists for a catcher. Simmons had a 117+ OPS, mostly brought down by his final years. Comparing the WARs, Simmons had a 50.40, Posada a 45.60.
The end result, Simmons never got even 4% of the vote in any Hall of Fame vote.
That doesn’t bode well for Posada. Posada does though, have some fine stats of his own. If he retired right now, Posada would have a .379 OBP, which would be 8th all-time for a catcher, ahead of guys like Roy Campanella and Lombardi and just behind Bill Dickey. His adjusted OPS+ of 125 puts him above Campanella, Carlton Fisk and Gary Carter. His 5 Silver Sluggers Awards put him ahead of Fisk and tie him with Carter. He is 8th all-time for HRs by a catcher ahead of Dickey and Campanella. His .379 OBP puts him ahead of Piazza and just behind Dickey. Posada’s .483 slugging percentage puts him ahead of Berra, Bench and Fisk. Posada’s .862 OPS puts him at 4th all-time ahead of Berra, Bench and Fisk. Posada is 13th all-time in putouts as a catcher, ahead of Bench, Berra, Cochrane and Lombardi. He has fewer errors than Bench, Carter, Berra, Dickey and Fisk.
The 2 standard Hall of Fame forecasting methods on Baseball Reference are split. The Hall of Fame Monitor score for Posada is 112 with 100 the threshold for a Hall of Famer. However, the Hall of Fame Standard has the average Famer at 50. Posada’s score is 42.
So what does this all mean? Personally, Posada’s number put him on the fence….and probably leaning towards not getting in. However, the 5 Championships could push him over—. His injuries this season suggest he may be nearing the end. And if he doesn’t hurt his slugging percentage and OBP numbers, the end result, most likely is that
Posada makes his Hall of Fame speech standing next to his battery mate, Mariano Rivera.