JAWS: Walker Has HOF Worthy Resume in Analytics Assessment
Whether it is the eye tests, old-time stats or more refined statistical analysis, Larry Walker checks in among the elite right fielders in the history of the game. Despite the ledger that would seem to say he is Hall of Fame worthy, Walker is headed into his ninth and next-to-last-year of being on the Hall of Fame ballot sent to veteran members of the Basebal Writers’ Association of America.
Under Jay Jaffe’s JAWS evaluation, Walker ranks as the 11th-best right fielder in history, higher than 15 right fielders already in the Hall of Fame.
The JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score system) was developed by sabermetrician Jay Jaffe — first at Baseball Prospectus in 2004 — as a means to measure a player's Hall of Fame worthiness by comparing him to the players at his position who are already enshrined, using advanced metrics to account for the wide variations in offensive levels that have occurred throughout the game's history. The stated goal is to improve the Hall of Fame's standards, or at least to maintain them rather than erode them, by admitting players who are at least as good as the average Hall of Famer at the position, using a means via which longevity isn't the sole determinant of worthiness.
A player's JAWS is his career WAR averaged with his 7-year peak WAR (not necessarily consecutive years). For non-pitchers, all non-pitching WAR (offense, defense, baserunning) is included in determining the averages, but any pitching WAR they might have accrued is not; right fielders aren't penalized by the additional value Babe Ruth accumulated on the mound, for example. The current Hall of Famers are then grouped by position and a position average JAWS is computed. For the purposes of comparison, a player is classified at the position where he accrued the most value, which may be different from the position where he played the most games, particularly as players tend to shift to positions of less defensive responsibility as they age. Within that process, a first-cut infield vs. outfield determination is made as well.
Walker Career Fits the RF HOFers
|1||Babe Ruth HOF||123.4||22||1914||1935||1.164|
|2||Hank Aaron HOF||101.7||23||1954||1976||.928|
|3||Stan Musial HOF||96.2||22||1941||1963||.976|
|4||Mel Ott HOF||80.3||22||1926||1947||.947|
|5||Frank Robinson HOF||80.1||21||1956||1976||.926|
|6||Roberto Clemente HOF||74.3||18||1955||1972||.834|
|7||Al Kaline HOF||70.8||22||1953||1974||.855|
|8||Reggie Jackson HOF||60.4||21||1967||1987||.846|
|9||Harry Heilmann HOF||59.7||17||1914||1932||.93 0|
|Avg of 25 HOFers||57.8|
|10||Paul Waner HOF||57.5||20||1926||1945||.878|
|11||Sam Crawford HOF||57.5||19||1899||1917||.814|
|12||Tony Gwynn HOF||55.2||20||1982||2001||.847|
|13||Dave Winfield HOF||51.1||22||1973||1995||.827|
|14||Vladimir Guerrero HOF||50.3||16||1996||2011||.931|
|15||Elmer Flick HOF||47.3||13||1898||1910||.834|
|16||Enos Slaughter HOF||45.3||19||1938||1959||.834|
|17||Willie Keeler HOF||45.2||19||1892||1910||.802|
|18||Sam Rice HOF||41.7||20||1915||1934||.801|
|19||Harry Hooper HOF||41.7||17||1909||1925||.755|
|20||Kiki Cuyler HOF||40.8||18||1921||1938||.860|
|21||Chuck Klein HOF||40.1||17||1928||1944||.922|
|22||Sam Thompson HOF||38.8||15||1885||1906||.890|
|23||King Kelly HOF||37.7||16||1878||1893||.806|
|24||Ross Youngs HOF||31.3||10||1917||1926||.839|
|25||Tommy McCarthy HOF||17.6||13||1884||1896||.740|