Monday, August 11, 2008

1881 NL (cont.)

Leaders and trailers:
BATTING AVERAGE
1. Cap Anson, CHN (.399)
2. Martin Powell, DET (.338)
3. Jack Rowe, BUF (.333)
Trailer: Bill McClellan, PRO (.166)
ON BASE AVERAGE
1. Cap Anson, CHN (.442)
2. Martin Powell, DET (.380)
3. Tom York, PRO (.362)
Trailer: George Derby, DET (.200)
Trailing non-pitcher: Art Whitney, DET (.208)
SLUGGING AVERAGE
1. Dan Brouthers, BUF (.541)
2. Cap Anson, CHN (.510)
3. Jack Rowe, BUF (.480)
Trailer: Bill McClellan, PRO (.185)
SECONDARY AVERAGE
1. Dan Brouthers, BUF (.289)
2. Charlie Bennett, DET (.237)
3. Tom York, PRO (.215)
Trailer: Joe Quest, CHN (.038)
RUNS CREATED
1. Cap Anson, CHN (91)
2. Fred Dunlap, CLE (71)
3. King Kelly, CHN (71)
4. Abner Dalrymple, CHN (69)
5. Jim O'Rourke, BUF (68)
ARG
1. Cap Anson, CHN (216)
2. Dan Brouthers, BUF (171)
3. Fred Dunlap, CLE (170)
4. Martin Powell, DET (168)
5. Tom York, PRO (154)
Trailer: George Derby, DET (41)
Trailing non-pitcher: Bill McClellan, PRO (45)
WAA
1. Cap Anson, CHN (+4.4)
2. Fred Dunlap, CLE (+3.1)
3. Dan Brouthers, BUF (+2.5)
4. Tom York, PRO (+2.2)
5. King Kelly, CHN (+1.9)
Trailer: Davy Force, BUF (-2.3)
WAR
1. Cap Anson, CHN (+5.2)
2. Fred Dunlap, CLE (+4.8)
3. Bob Ferguson, TRO (+3.5)
4. Charlie Bennett, DET (+3.5)
5. Jim O'Rourke, BUF (+3.5)
Trailer: Davy Force, BUF (-.7)
ARA
1. Fred Goldsmith, CHN (82)
2. Larry Corcoran, CHN (84)
3. Hoss Radbourn, PRO (87)
4. George Derby, DET (89)
5. Pud Galvin, BUF (89)
Trailer: The Only Nolan, CLE (117)
WAA
1. Larry Corcoran, CHN (+1.7)
2. Fred Goldsmith, CHN (+1.5)
3. George Derby, DET (+1.4)
4. Pud Galvin, BUF (+1.3)
5. Hoss Radbourn, PRO (+1.1)
Trailer: John Fox, BSN (-1.4)
T WAR
1. Jim Whitney, BSN (+2.6)
2. Jim McCormick, CLE (+2.5)
3. Fred Goldsmith, CHN (+2.2)
4. Larry Corcoran, CHN (+2.0)
5. Hoss Radbourn, PRO (+1.9)
Trailer: John Fox, BSN (-1.6)

My all-star team:
C: Charlie Bennett, DET
1B: Cap Anson, CHN
2B: Fred Dunlap, CLE
3B: Ezra Sutton, BSN
SS: Jack Glasscock, CLE
LF: Tom York, PRO
CF: Hardy Richardson, BUF
RF: King Kelly, CHN
P: Jim Whitney, BSN
P: Jim McCormick, CLE
MVP: 1B Cap Anson, CHN
Rookie Hitter: C Buck Ewing, TRO
Rookie Pitcher: Jim Whitney, BSN

I went with Sutton over O’Rourke at third base because O’Rourke was evaluated at -19 Fielding Runs by Pete Palmer, and since it was his first time as a regular third baseman, I don’t find it hard to believe that his defense may have been subpar.

At shortstop, Jack Glasscock’s +9 FR elevate him over Ross Barnes (-3) and Tom Burns (-4). Glasscock had a fine defensive reputation, and it’s not hard to imagine that an over thirty Ross Barnes, in his last big league season, would not have been a great defensive shortstop.

I went with Hardy Richardson in center on the strength of his +23 FR, although that figure seems a bit high and it’s hard to pass up established stars like Paul Hines and George Gore.

I also struggled with the rookie hitter decision; the top two candidates were Martin Powell (+2.4 WAR, -3 FR at first base) and Buck Ewing (+1.7 WAR, +19 FR at catcher). Catchers are hard to evaluate defensively, and certainly it would be no easier in the nineteenth century. Picking Ewing also feels a bit like making a decision based on what we know now rather than what an observer in 1881 would have known. Ewing would go on to be one of the great stars of the nineteenth century while Powell would never again have a positive TPR.

Finally, a word about the pitchers. Neither of my selections were even in the top five in WAA, which solely considers their pitching performance. However, they were the top two hitting pitchers in the circuit, and the range of performance in the box was really not that great this season. It is easy to speculate that adjustments to moving the box back five feet were the primary cause of this phenomenon, but it would be just that. Anecdotally, Mickey Welch claimed that the extra distance hurt his curveball, while Tim Keefe said it helped. Whatever the cause was, no pitcher managed to separate himself through his primary job responsibility.

That will conclude the annual reviews on the 1876-1881 NL; I intend to do the 1882-1883 NL and AA some time in the fairly near future. I would like to continue to do similar write-ups all the way through the 1900 season, but that may not happen for a while.

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