Curt Schilling was trending on Twitter with people discussing whether or not he should be in the Hall of Fame. Being winter with no baseball games to follow let’s run this question through this data model.
One thing led to another which led yet again to baseball-reference.com with a table on the current HOF ballot. In Part 1 of this series we’ll just look at Curt Shilling and then in subsequent parts explore the rest of the players on the ballot. It appears no one was elected except for the old timers in 2019. The steroid era has hit retirement.
Edit: Apparently the vote percentages listed in the table were from last year. Mariano Rivera gets unanimous vote and will be the subject of Part 2.
Should Curt Schilling be in the Hall of Fame?
How does one go about evaluating a career? Here is how a Philadelphia newspaper summed up his entire career:
Schilling spent 20 years in the league as a pitcher, posting a 216-146 record and a career 3.46 ERA with three teams — the Phillies, Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Can anyone tell if the above description of a pitcher makes him HOF worthy? In order to do that you would have to see that player in the context of other HOF inductees. This model ranks all players, hitters and pitchers, together and all careers for players who played in post 1900 are ranked together.
tl;dr Curt Schilling had a career total WAA=70.21 ranking him #85 out of all MLB players who played post 1900. That puts him in the HOF. He only got slightly higher than 50% of HOF votes, well short of the required 75%.
Let’s dive into the details…
1997 was his best year according to this data model followed by 2001. The number highlighted in brown is his total career ranking score. A ranking score is used to compare two different value systems. The WAR table is shown below also with a ranking score.
A value system must itself be evaluated by how it ranks players with each other. This data model ranks the top and bottom 200 based upon a sort and reverse sort of the WAA weighting measure. WAA can go negative as easily as it can go positive.
WAR is different. Its weighting system rarely dives into negative territory allowing It to be more forgiving to players. We can’t directly compare the two weighting systems. WAR for pitcher adds to 400 league wide, WAR for hitters adds to 600. WAA adds to 0 for both hitters and batters.
The ranking system is computed as follows:
total ranking score += 200 - rank ( for top 200 players )
total ranking score += rank - 200 ( for bottom 200 players )
The higher you rank in the top 200 the more ranking score you add, vice versa for high bottom 200 ranks. A rank of #1 in the bottom 200 is least value player in the league. Let’s look at the WAR table.
The above table format is a work in progress. IP is innings pitched which shows time. The Total line is total WAR and WAR ranking score highlighted in brown.
WAR has Curt’s best seasons 2001 and 2002. Their ranking score of 2003 means WAR thinks even more highly of Curt Schilling than this model — but not much. The two systems are very close on this career. I do not rank career WAR by weighting factor since WAR does not have additive properties and will return deceptive results. The ranking score is more accurate for evaluating a player with regard to WAR.
That is all for now. More HOF career analysis coming soon. Until then ….