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This is an AP article I lifted from the StarTribune web site.   https://www.startrib...sure/571623572/
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Virtual Twins Baseball Megathread

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Moving forward this will house every game-thread in the comments below until real baseball hopefully comes back. I should have done this...
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Are Torii Hunter and Josh Donaldson Future Hall of Famers?

Few things get baseball fans more riled up then talking about the Hall of Fame and who deserves to make it in. To continue that, we’ll be looking at the cases for two Twins who look to be, as of today, on the fringe of making it.
Image courtesy of © Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Torii Hunter:

Hunter’s case is decent. He won nine Gold Glove awards, two Silver Sluggers, and was a five time All-Star over his career. The good news for Hunter is that there are only six outfielders who have more career GG’s (Clemente, Mays, Griffey Jr., Jones, Kaline, Suzuki). Four of those players are already in the Hall while Suzuki will certainly make it once he’s eligible. Much of Torii’s case rests on the strength of those GG awards and how much voters weigh that when deciding who to vote for.

The bad news for Hunter is that those four outfielders already in the hall were much better hitters over the course of their careers than Hunter. Hunter aligns almost perfectly offensively with Andruw Jones, the other outfielder with more GGs than Hunter who snagged just 19.4% of the vote in his third year on the ballot. Hunter’s career OPS+ sits at 110 while Jones is at 111.

Beyond the fact that Hunter wasn’t quite an elite hitter, he never was unquestionably one of the best players in baseball at any point in his career. The highest he ever placed in MVP voting was when he came in sixth in 2002, and even then he was only the 25th best position player in the AL by fWAR. Both Corey Koskie and Jacque Jones were more valuable by that stat. Hunter never finished higher than 15th beyond that year.

Hunter will have an advantage as he will be eligible for the ballot next year and there aren’t many players joining him who have slam-dunk cases. Curt Schilling could make it but no one else seems like an obvious case unless the voters suddenly get real cool about steroids real quickly. Hunter could garner some back-ballot votes as he only has to fight Mark Buehrle and Tim Hudson as other strong newcomers.

Josh Donaldson:

As is, Donaldson faces a similar uphill battle but he has reached his own point in a starkly different way than Hunter.

While Hunter started playing consistently at the age of 24, Donaldson didn’t see his first full season until 2013 during his age-27 season. That has yet to be a negative for the Bringer of Rain. Every season that Donaldson has seen at least 400 at-bats has resulted in him getting MVP votes including his 2015 season that won him the award outright. Since 2013, the only position player with more fWAR would be the one and only, Mike Trout.

Let’s put it this way; Donaldson certainly has the peak play needed to gain entry into the Hall. After another great 2019 season with the Braves, his peak might not even be behind him quite yet.

The major difference between Hunter and Donaldson is that Donaldson can still alter his career and improve his case for the Hall. A strong four years in Minnesota would likely cement Donaldson’s case for the Hall, especially if he leads the team to a title. Anything less is where his case starts to get a bit murky as he may fall into the Dale Murphy pit of “great peak but not enough longevity”. These next few seasons will be crucial for Donaldson’s case and he’s certainly not being helped by these lost games.

Both players present different yet similar cases for the Hall. One has to leave it all up to the voters while the other can still influence his career and build onto an already impressive resume. What do you think? Do either of these players belong in the Hall of Fame?

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17 Comments

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theBOMisthebomb
May 28 2020 08:35 PM
My knee jerk reaction was a solid no for Torii. You spun a good case so i looked at JAWS, where Torii is at 34, right behind guys like Curtis Granderson, Ellis Burks, Devon White, and Brett Butler. Hall of Very Good may be more appropriate.
    • mikelink45 and Matt Braun like this

no for Hunter, Donaldson TBD....

    • mikelink45 and DocBauer like this

I forgot to mention it in the article because I'm a big dumb dumb, but the reason that I chose this topic was because I found out that both players are top 300 all-time in rWAR and fWAR for position players. That intrigued me enough to do some more research and now we're here. 

    • mikelink45 and MN_ExPat like this

 

My knee jerk reaction was a solid no for Torii. You spun a good case so i looked at JAWS, where Torii is at 34, right behind guys like Curtis Granderson, Ellis Burks, Devon White, and Brett Butler. Hall of Very Good may be more appropriate.

This is about where I am with Hunter as well. Granderson might actually be the perfect comp for him as well. 

    • mikelink45 and MN_ExPat like this

Torii is a no.As good as he was for his career he was never HOF level.He was regarded for his defense, but offense gets you into the hall, defense just keeps you on the field.He should go down as one of the best to defend the outfield, he was one of the best stealing those HRs.However, he was never the feared hitter.Sure he had some good seasons hitting overall, but at least I was never thinking Torii is coming up something good will happen.  

 

Donaldson still has a career so not sure why he would be a question.If he can play at a high level into late 30's he will have a good shot at it.

    • MN_ExPat likes this

No for Torii. While I like WAR for quick and dirty validation, for Hall of Fame I prefer Wins Above Average, and on that measure Hunter comes in with a career total that puts him in company of Dwayne Murphy, Vada Pinson, Curt Flood, Eric Davis. Putting aside analytics, these players seem like qualitatively decent comps for our guy, and as such, this would put him in the apocryphal Hall Of Very Good.

 

Josh Donaldson, just too soon to say, or even really start the discussion. He hasn't passed the so-called Bus Test ("what if he got hit by a bus tomorrow?") for me at least. Eventual WAA comparables at the moment might be Ron Cey or Jeff Kent, which wouldn't bode well, but he's still got time to pile on some glory, after a relatively late start to his major league career.

    • Dantes929, mikelink45, DocBauer and 1 other like this

Hunter was really good defensively but Buxton has redefined what great looks like for me. I liked Hunter but the only case you can make for him getting in is that Harold Baines got in.  

    • mikelink45, DocBauer and MN_ExPat like this

I enjoyed this - I like the HOF speculation and often hate the voters choices (Baines) so who can predict.I see both in the Twins HOF - and that is good enough.No to Torii.Fun player, good player, but nothing comparable to Mays, Cobb, Mantle, DiMaggio.He is #34 on the Jaws CF rankings between Curtis Granderson and Willie Wilson.

 

Josh Donaldson is #29 in jaws 3B ranks - but remember there are fewer 3b (15) HOF players than other positions (DH is not a position). He sits between Heinie Groh and Matt Williams.He needs 27 WAR to reach HOF level - that is a lot at his age.  

 

 

    • Dantes929 and MN_ExPat like this

Great story Matt. I'd have to say I'm with the early majority here as well on Torii.Great player, and the type every team needs and loves to have on the roster (the guy who just makes folks better around him).

 

Would I vote him for the HOF?Probably not... but that doesn't mean a negative to me though or take away from who we was as a player to me.Twins HOFer and definitely ready for induction into the Hall of the Very Good :).

 

Donaldson... he's made a very strong case for himself thus far, but time will tell so here's hoping to many more (Thunder) Bombas from the "Bringer of Rain".  

Hunter is really interesting. In 12 of his 17 seasons he was good for 3+ WAR* each year. That's actually kind of rare both in actually number of seasons but also in % of seasons played. Tim Raines - who earned 20 more WAR in 19 seasons - only had 11 seasons of 3+ WAR (58%). (I am not saying Hunter was better than Raines). Hunter was a solid starter for a very long time but he never had those dominate seasons - Raines had 6 seasons better than Hunter's best. I think Hunter is a solid Hall of Very Good type. 

 

I also think Hunter's personality and obvious leadership will help him a bit in the voting. He was the big personality on all of his teams. I also liked that he talked about race in ways that made white audiences uncomfortable. One of my favorite Twins of all time.

 

 

 

* It's also worth noting for Twins fans that WAR really changed how people viewed Hunter. IIRC, when he was leaving the Twins to the Angels, Aaron Gleeman said that the Angels paid too much, that Hunter wasn't that valuable and, as evidence, pointed out that Hunter had yet to have a 3 WAR season. But b-r changed their WAR calculation and Hunter was one of the biggest beneficiaries, gaining 11 WAR in their new formula. 

    • mikelink45 likes this
Your first statement that he won this many gold gloves tells the story. However, he might get lucky if there isn't anyone else to vote for?

 

Your first statement that he won this many gold gloves tells the story. However, he might get lucky if there isn't anyone else to vote for?

Gold gloves have been devalued and might not count as much as you think in his assessment

 

Gold gloves have been devalued and might not count as much as you think in his assessment


That is exactly what I was saying, hardly ever does anyone talk about gold gloves first when talking about a hall of fame career. I mean Rafael Palmero won a gold glove and I think he only played like 28 games in the field that year. I know Hunter's gold gloves were earned for the most part, but so many of them aren't. So to talk about his gold gloves first probably means that his counting stats don't quite add up. Otherwise those would be the first things mentioned and then they'd say oh and he also won this many gold gloves.
    • ashbury and mikelink45 like this

 

That is exactly what I was saying, hardly ever does anyone talk about gold gloves first when talking about a hall of fame career. I mean Rafael Palmero won a gold glove and I think he only played like 28 games in the field that year. I know Hunter's gold gloves were earned for the most part, but so many of them aren't. So to talk about his gold gloves first probably means that his counting stats don't quite add up. Otherwise those would be the first things mentioned and then they'd say oh and he also won this many gold gloves.

I completely agree - one more aspect of gold gloves is repetition and less work to just keep awarding the gold glove to the same person year after year.Did Kaat and Maddox really deserve all those gold gloves?You brought up the best example of all in Palmeiro.Here are more examples http://insidestl.com...e-winners/15715  That is why the Andruw Jones debate wears me out - yes he was a good fielder - but did he deserve all those gold gloves?His career is just not good enough for the Hall.  

 

Here is a good essay on why the awards are bad - https://bleacherrepo...r-awards-season

 

Here are the 2019 finalists https://www.mlb.com/...glove-finalists Note old friend Robbie Grossman - did anyone see this coming? 

I did an analysis on Hunter a few years back and came to the conclusion he needed more counting stats. If he played for 2 more seasons with 700-800 ABs he could have hit 25- 30 more HRs, getting to 200 SBs for the full rounded number would have helped make stats look better, he would have made it to 2600 hits. And the stat which would have made his case electible was 1525 career RBIs. I think I counted only 3 players with more not in the Hall Of Fame that were not steroid related. He also needed to be over 900 XBHs for his career, the closer to 1000 the better. At that point he was borderline case but I think he would be in for being good at so many things including making the voter's (media's) job easier.

 

That is exactly what I was saying, hardly ever does anyone talk about gold gloves first when talking about a hall of fame career. I mean Rafael Palmero won a gold glove and I think he only played like 28 games in the field that year. I know Hunter's gold gloves were earned for the most part, but so many of them aren't. So to talk about his gold gloves first probably means that his counting stats don't quite add up. Otherwise those would be the first things mentioned and then they'd say oh and he also won this many gold gloves.

Well, I had to make a decent case for him somehow! You're right in believing that using his GG awards is a weak structure because even I agree with that personally. 

    • ashbury likes this
If Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen aren't getting into the HOF neither will Hunter and Donaldson.