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Stat of the Week: The Hall of Fame Value Standard

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In the 2019 Bill James Baseball Handbook, Bill introduced a new stat meant to evaluate worthiness for induction to Cooperstown. He’s called it The Hall of Fame Value Standard.

The Hall of Fame Value Standard (HOF-V) combines two statistics that assess player value -- Win Shares and Baseball-Reference.com Wins Above Replacement (the latter is multiplied by four to put it on a similar scale as Win Shares). Summing them produces the stat. A score of 500 is considered to be the bar for Hall of Fame worthiness.

This stat is a good tool to evaluate the position players whose candidacy inspires considerable debate on the most recent Hall of Fame ballot. (We'll look at pitchers next week.)

For example, Larry Walker has an HOF-V of 599.4. On a leaderboard, he would be just behind Hall-of-Famers Willie Stargell (599.9) and Andre Dawson (599.2). Bill rates Larry Walker sixth-best on the list of Hall-worthy position players who are or were eligible, but are not yet in the Hall of Fame (excluding special-circumstance players, such as those suspected of PED use).

Third base is a position that has historically been shunned by Hall of Fame voters. Only 17 third basemen are in Cooperstown, the fewest of any position. Scott Rolen would be a worthy addition by the HOF-V (584.8). Rolen’s combination of offensive and defensive skill is one that is hard for others at the position to match.

The early returns on Edgar Martinez’s vote total indicate he should get elected this year, his final year on the BBWAA ballot. But his candidacy was a polarizing one in previous years. It shouldn’t have been according to this stat. Martinez’s HOF-V is 578.6. For those who say David Ortiz was the best DH of all time, keep this in mind. Martinez has him beat in the HOF-V by 41 points.

As Bill notes, Todd Helton is a challenging case. He’s at 562.8, which easily clears the HOF-V bar. However, his vote total may be kept down by his having played his entire career in Colorado. He will be an interesting candidate to watch over the years as people fully consider his body of work.

Jeff Kent’s voter support has been minimal during his time on the ballot, but by the HOF-V, he’s in, with a score of 560.6. That’s not in the territory of Craig Biggio (690) and Roberto Alomar (645.4), but is still enough to clear the electoral bar.

Fred McGriff hit 493 home runs but wasn’t flashy or a headline-grabber. He just did his job and did it very well. That’s enough to merit election by the HOF-V (552.4), but with this being McGriff’s last year on the ballot, he still doesn’t have the voter support to match his numbers.

Two players barely slide over the 500 line -- Andruw Jones (527.2) and Lance Berkman (521.4). They are among a crowded field of players whom the system deems Hall of Fame-worthy, but by just a little bit. Jones had both a great peak (51 home runs in 2005) and a great defensive reputation (10 straight Gold Gloves). Berkman was a standout middle-of-the-order hitter on an Astros team with two Hall of Famers in Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio.

If you want to check where your favorite player stands in the Hall of Fame Value Standard, go to Bill James Online. The BBWAA will announce the newest inductees on January 22. Happy debating!

2019 HOF Eligible Position Players
Name HOF-V
Barry Bonds 1355.2
Manny Ramirez 685.2
Gary Sheffield 672.0
Larry Walker 598.8
Scott Rolen 584.8
Edgar Martinez 578.6
Todd Helton 562.8
Jeff Kent 560.6
Sammy Sosa 555.4
Fred McGriff 552.4
Lance Berkman 527.2
Andruw Jones 521.4
Miguel Tejada 477.2
Omar Vizquel 464.4
Placido Polanco 383.0
Michael Young 340.4
Vernon Wells 295.0
Kevin Youkilis 288.4
Jason Bay 258.4
Juan Pierre 251.4
Travis Hafner 238.2
Rick Ankiel 95.6

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