2011 piece) The Hall of Fame is Incomplete without Tim Raines in it
2012 piece) On Tim Raines and the Hall of Fame (again)
This year we're going to focus on some "what if" projections to showcase some flashy numbers. I love projecting using statistics ever since I first learned about it. You know that cross-multiplying business? I love that...I really honestly enjoy cross-multiplying. I cross multiply like a mad man sometimes. I cross multiply like a bat outta hell and don't even think twice about it. I like taking data of past trends to project future trends...it's really really fun. You can use it to quantify and project all kinds of stuff too not just baseball statistics.
Alrighty, so in this year's traditional Tim Raines for Hall of Fame article, we shall take it simple and take two events from the past and apply cross multiplication to produce "what-if" scenarios.
First off, let's take a nice past event, like the 1981 season, which for Expos fans is like THE season of seasons. Here's Rock's stat line from the 1981 campaign:
Plate Appearances: 363
Stolen Bases: 71
Caught Stealin': 11
As many of you know, the 1981 Major League baseball campaign was a strike shortened due to labor disputes and it was not a standard 162 game season. In a standard season players, and in this case a leadoff batter, can get up to 700+ plate appearances. You know where I'm going with this right? If he stole 71 bases in 363 plate appearances...then how many would he have stole if the season was a standard 162 game season instead of a shortened one?
Enter now my homie...Mr. Cross Multiplication,
71 over 363...over a nice round number such as 700 would give us...137.
If he continued at that pace, the Rock would have stole 137 bases in 1981. That's 7 more than the 130 Rickey Henderson stole in 1982 which is the most all time. If the strike never happened Rock could have been the single season stolen base champion, it is very conceivable and highly plausible.
The second data set we shall take is the 1987 MLB campaign. The Rock's plate appearances were hindered in this season due to the collusion against free agents conspired against the players by the owners (see: 1987 collusion). He missed a full month of games due to the collusion and produced these numbers in that time:
Plate Appearances: 627
Catched Stealin': 5
Okay let's get some numbers to work with...
1. 162 (games in standard season) - 139 = 23
2. Cross multiply PA with G and add 23 games worth would give us...103 extra PA to total 730.
Okay...so what would these numbers have been in a 730 PA season? Once again using our best friend cross multiplication, the hypothetical results are:
Plate Appearances: 730
Catched Stealin': 5
Yeah...143 runs scored.
Without the collusion, Raines could have conceivably and very plausibly scored more than 140 runs in 1987...which is quite a lot. To me runs are what wins games, it doesn't matter to me if a player crossed the plate from a homerun or because he was wicked fast at getting around the bases. I know to most fans homeruns are the coolest thing ever and all but a run is a run and someone who can score that many runs in a year is pretty amazing.
For people or voters who think homeruns are the only important thing in baseball this projection also shows that Raines could have surpassed the arbitrary mark of 20 homers in a season as well. He had decent power too if that's what you want.
Just a short and brief Raines for Hall of Fame article this year. If you're a Hall of Fame voter some of these projection stats may stand out to you though. Without the strike of 1981 or the collusion of 1987 some pretty impressive stats may have landed in the columns of Tim Raines' baseball card.
137 Stolen Bases in 1981
143 Runs Scored in 1987
Pretty intense if you ask me.