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The Rockies’ disadvantages, the usefulness of WAR, and PEDs and the Hall of Fame

Rockies news and links for November 22, 2017

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and keeping to holiday tradition, we’ll just raise some controversial topics and let y’all (politely) duke it out in the comments. So: Who wants to talk PEDs and the Hall of Fame? How about whether or not WAR is any good? Or whether or not the Shohei Ohtani “sweepstakes” is just another example of how Rockies and teams like them face structural disadvantages? Let’s do it!

Joe Morgan’s letter reminded us how silly it is to keep PED users out of the Hall of Fame |
Recently, Joe Morgan wrote an indignant letter pleading for Hall of Fame voters to avoid all consideration of PED users. Here, Grant Brisbee points out an obvious but too often ignored feature of these types of arguments: PED use came from a specific context in baseball history, and baseball players who played in different contexts can't really claim a moral high ground because they don't know what they would have done if they given the chance to take PEDs.

Prospectus Feature: Bill James vs. the Noise | Baseball Prospectus ($)
Bill James wrote a couple extended criticisms of Wins Above Replacement models on his blog. The critique,s curiously, was mostly founded on the fact that Astros and Yankees players each added up for the same amount of team-WAR, but they teams ended up with a different number of wins. Jonathan Judge offers up a good breakdown of the different ways people view WAR, as well as the ways in which the designers of it intend it to be seen and interpreted.

The Ohtani Algorithm | The Hardball Times
Spoiler: It ain’t the Rockies.