It’s that time again. Time to argue about steroid-users, final-ballot nominees, pitchers vs. hitters, DHs vs. position players, WAR vs. RBI… You name it, it comes into play during the Hall of Fame discussion. And rightfully so, as baseball has changed it rules and its vision of itself (not to mention how we view stats) over the years. American League pitchers face DHs, while National League pitchers get pulled earlier from games because of the need to pinch hit for them. Some divisions have huge ballparks, some have notoriously hitter-friendly parks. Rarely is it ever straight-forward who is genuinely “the best”.
Below I have included a couple of images, taken from Fangraphs.com. These are the primary players up for election. The stats listed next to them are what I use as a starting point. By no means do I simply pick the top WAR players and call it a day. WAR can be a great starting point, but it doesn’t include playoff performances, doesn’t convey short-term dominance, and is largely made up of defensive and baserunning stats that are only very recently becoming legitimately “accurate”. Therefore I use quite a few other stats (as you can see) to help me. After looking at all of those stats, too, I then start to look at things like awards, short-term dominance, playoffs, influence, etc. One final note: these lists do not include Clemens, Bonds, Palmeiro, Sosa, McGwire or Sheffield. Yes, the either self-professed or entirely likely steroid users. I have argued this point to death, so I won’t say any more about it. Without further ado, here are the strongest candidates for 2015:
(click for larger image)