Womack: Could Omar Vizquel help other shortstops get into the Hall of Fame?

From SABR member Graham Womack at The Sporting News on January 30, 2017:

Baseball-Reference.com founder Sean Forman recently tweeted an interesting chart about the Hall of Fame candidacy of shortstop Omar Vizquel, who’ll be newly eligible on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s ballot this fall.

It’s weird. Vizquel won 11 Gold Gloves and has one of the finest reputations of any fielder in baseball history. While he got maligned once in a classic episode of “The Simpsons” when Bart fleeces a distracted Milhouse into trading a dog-eared, Seattle Mariners-years Vizquel card to him for a Carl Yastrzemski rookie, Vizquel soon came to personify defensive excellence in baseball. By sabermetrics, though, Vizquel’s practically a below-average player. And, as Forman pointed out, numerous shortstops rank better than Vizquel, depending on which metric one favors.

According to the Play Index tool on Forman’s site, Vizquel’s 5.0 Wins Above Average are tied for 54th among inactive shortstops who aren’t in Cooperstown. By Wins Above Replacement, which rates Vizquel far better because of his longevity, he’s 10th among inactive, non-enshrined shortstops with 45.3 WAR. Sabermetrics reaffirm Vizquel as a good defensive shortstop, with his 127.6 runs saved while fielding 18th-best among all shortstops in baseball history. But his minus-244.3 runs worse than average as a hitter paint him as the 13th-worst hitting shortstop of all time. Adjusting for his era, Vizquel would be just about the worst-hitting position player in the Hall of Fame.

Read the full article here: http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/news/omar-vizquel-baseball-hall-of-fame-chances-case-stats-shortstop-defense/1ii73sdspbk3u13r0dvlpb0coi

Originally published: January 30, 2017. Last Updated: January 30, 2017.