Whitaker: Rethinking Hall of Fame standards in the Expansion Era

From Kevin Whitaker at Baseball Prospectus on January 3, 2014:

It’s no secret that this year’s Hall of Fame ballot features a historically large pool of qualified candidates. Among the nominees are the all-time home runs leader, a 3,000-hit second baseman, and a durable slugger with an MVP award—and those are just the players whose names begin with “B.”

In part, the current backlog reflects the slow pace at which voters have inducted Hall of Famers over the past few seasons. But a bigger factor is that more qualified players have become eligible. In the last five elections, 18 players debuted on the ballot with JAWS scores of at least 90 percent of their position’s Hall of Fame standard. In the entire decade before that, only 15 such players entered the ballot.

What do these new candidates have in common? All 18 were active for the entirety of 1993-2002, and all but Roger Clemens and Barry Larkin had the majority of their peak seasons in that decade. By JAWS and other advanced metrics, the best players of the late 1990s simply have better Hall of Fame cases than did the best players of the previous era.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22497

Originally published: January 3, 2014. Last Updated: January 3, 2014.