Jeff Fletcher | December 31, 2011
A few days ago I did Edgar Martinez in my series of pieces on my deliberations for my HOF ballot, and it generated some attention from my friends at FanGraphs. I’ve also written this and this, as it relates to Edgar, and I’ve been having the debate on two message boards.
What I’m trying to do with this post is put it all together in one place, so this can serve as my definitive piece on why I did not vote for Edgar Martinez. Hopefully, those of you who just got a sliver of the argument from some other source can see what you’ve missed. Also, this is for me, so I can just look back at this when the ballot comes next year.
Here is the nut graf, as we say in journalism:
I believe that Edgar Martinez fundamentally benefited from being a DH, both in the volume and quality of his offensive production. Therefore, his offensive numbers must put him well above the theoretical dividing line for him to be a Hall of Famer. Considering the era in which he played, his numbers place him only among a handful of borderline candidates.
There, that’s the crux of my argument. Now, let’s separate that into two parts. The first, is that Edgar fundamentally benefited from being a DH. I don’t think it’s possible to debate the volume part. Clearly, the DH extended the careers of people like Edgar. As for the quality, people like to cite studies that show that DHs generally perform worse at DH than they do as everyday players. I believe those studies are faulty because most players become DHs when they are already in decline. If you look at other players who fill-in as DH from time to time, their numbers suffer from small sample size, as well as the fact that they are unfamiliar with how to DH, and view it as a day off.
But don’t take my word for it.