Thursday, February 11, 2010

Carlos Delgado's career in context

It looks like Carlos Delgado's career could be coming to an end soon. Considering that this hinges on whether he gets an adequate offer for the 2010 season, the likelihood of his career being done seems more likely than not.

With that in mind, i'm going to take a look at his career to see whether he or not he can reasonably expect to get into Cooperstown one day.

Placed into historical context, three of the top 10 hitters most similar to him (Willie Stargell, Willie McCovey and Duke Snider are in the hall of fame).

The seven similar players not enshrined either haven't retired or haven't been retired long enough (Thome, Giambi, Bagwell) and/or face long odds due to being associated with steroid use(Canseco, Juan Gonzales).

For hitters for the last couple decades, it depends on how the hall of fame voters react to hitters from the 1990s/2000s. In addition to the rampant steroid use of this time, Delgado happened to play in an era where home run totals were inflated across the board. The 473 career homers Delgado had while outstanding doesn't stand out in his era had it been if he had been playing in the same era as Stargell, McCovey and Snider.

Still, he has a case for serious consideration, but not necessarily enshrinement. He was still one of the better players of the era as he was in the top-10 for MVP voting 4 times. Even when you adjust for the seasons he played and inflated offensive numbers, he still stands out above most of his contemporaries as he had a career OPS+ of 138 including 4 seasons with an OPS + over 150. Still, this places slightly below the similar players OPS+ Career totals of the Hall of Famers with similar resumes:

Stargell 147 OPS+
McCovey 147 OPS+
Snider 140 OPS+

He places middle of the pack in Top-10 MVP finishes (Snider 6, Stargell 5, McCovey 2) and doesn't hold up as well in seasons with OPS+ > 150 (McCovey 11, Stargell 7, Snider 4.

What does this say about Delgado overall? He definitely seems like a bubble candidate that will determine which context voters are going to place the offensive totals for the last couple decades. In historical context, he falls just short of the Hall of Famers from past eras with similar numbers, he never approached the eye-popping power numbers of the Bonds, McGwire's and Sosa's of the world but at the same time hasn't been connected to steroid use as these aforementioned players have but still had outstanding numbers. My guess, he gets in eventually (but not on the first ballot) unless he somehow becomes a poster child for steroid use between now and then.


  1. No way? Although I'm against fantasy sports in general (not including STFC), if you're gonna do it, baseball is the only reasonable sport for it. It's the only sport where an individual running up his own stats would most rarely have a negative impact on the team. Stats are also more important in baseball than in any other sport. However, I hated the feeling of having a guy on my fantasy team playing against my beloved Sox. Besides, would Peter Gammons ever blog about fantasy?

  2. That's the thing that kept me away from fantasy for a long time.....if I have someone on my team that's playing the Brewers I could always bench them for a few days out of principle. I'm pretty sure Gammons wouldn't do blog about Fantasy but it's pretty sweet that MLB Network got him from ESPN.

    Random story about MLB Network versus ESPN baseball coverage. I started watching MLB Network regularly once I moved out of Davis and got things settled. During the summer I ended up going to Mountain View for business and was watching ESPN's Baseball Tonight in the hotel room (MLB Network wasn't available). After about five minutes i'm thinking to this is terrible.....something tells me it ain't getting any better for ESPN.