Monday, August 31, 2009

On Catchers in the Hall of Fame

Given my Random Forest analysis did not do a very good job at classifying players at the Catcher position because of apparent positional consideration by BBWAA voters, I thought I would provide anyone reading this with an interesting list of Catchers at Beyond the Boxscore. Here, you can see 8 Hall of Fame Catchers (all 7 by the BBWAA that my analysis misclassified are in the Top 14) and their career "Wins Above Replacement". While I have some reservations about converting WAR into value in $$, I think it can be used as an indicator of how good these catchers were in their era compared to other catchers (assuming they're compared to a set level from their own era, not necessarily what is used for today's player).

With that said, I'm not sure how the level of 'replacement' was calculated. The entire "Replacement Theory" has its foundation in a good place, but I think it goes astray in certain areas. Unfortunlatey, the arbitrary nature of it makes me question it's applicability across time, among other things. I don't really know what the 'Wins' are actually 'Above', especially in this case.

All in all, if we feel that these really are the best catchers ever, the BBWAA has done a nice job of inducting them, and it's likely that somehow controlling for position in the Random Forest analysis could greatly improve it's accuracy.

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