The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will release its list of soon-to-be inductees on Monday. Some discussion has focused on Bernie Williams and how much his postseason performance should count towards his hall candidacy. I’ll look at a simple way to add postseason plate-appearances into a player’s career WAR.
Of all the candidates eligible for the hall of fame in 2012, Williams had the most postseason plate appearances — and by a large margin. He had 545 of them, which is more than twice as many as any other hall-eligible player. Javy Lopez is second with 225, and Fred McGriff comes in at 218. Impressively, 141 of Williams’ 545 plate appearances came during the World Series. For reference, Williams’ World Series total is nearly three times as many as Mark McGwire, who had 53.
The extra PAs should lend some extra weight when determining if Williams gets into the hall of fame — especially when you consider that his postseason plate appearances amount to nearly an entire additional season.
To get a weighting of postseason games, I calculated all the hitters’ lifetime WAR, per 650 PA. It would have been too complicated to figure out the postseason stats, adjust them for the difficulty of the postseason play and then determine a true WAR. By using this simple method, I assumed that a player’s postseason production would be reasonably close to what they accomplished during the regular season. Williams’ production was actually very similar in that he had a regular season triple-slash of .297/.381/.477 and postseason triple-slash of .275/.371/.480.
With the WAR/650 calculated, I multiplied it times the hitter’s post season PAs. Since the postseason PAs are more important than the ones during the regular season, I added a weighting to those plate appearances. I doubled the WAR for all postseason games, and I also created another value that gave World Series games a weight of four times a regular season game. Other postseason games got a two-times weighting. Here are the results:
|Name||WAR||WAR/650||1x||1x Total||2 times||2x Total||2x & 4x||2x & 4x total||PS PA||WS|
Williams had the most postseason WAR of any player. Mark McGwire was next with about half of Williams’ WAR production. McGwire made up some ground on all the games Williams played by having a higher career WAR/650 (6.0 vs. 3.4). After adding a weighted amount of postseason WAR to Williams’ career total, it still wasn’t enough to get his WAR value into the hall of fame.
Certainly, Williams had an impressive career. But even with all those postseason appearances, his career falls short of getting his name enshrined in Cooperstown.
Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.