Top 200 Major League Players Ever - #195 ZACK WHEAT AND #194 DAZZY VANCE

Monday, July 14, 2008

#195 ZACK WHEAT LF Dodgers
OPS+ 129
BFW 24.1
WARP3 94.7

#194 DAZZY VANCE RHP Dodgers
ERA+ 125
PW 29.5
WARP3 90

Teammates for a dozen years - with their ranking next to each other, one write up seemed appropriate. Note how similar they are, Wheat a tick higher in OPS+ than is Vance in ERA+; Vance gets the edge in PW over Wheat's BFW, but Wheat makes it up in WARP3. Only in 3 of the 13 years with both Vance and Wheat on the club did Brooklyn finish above .500. One of those seasons was '24, which was the best combined Vance/Wheat year; Wheat never had a WARP3 above 10, but was over 9.0 twice; his third best year was '24, when he had an 8.6. Vance went nuts in '24, with a WARP3 of 13.6.

A note, WARP, as I write this, doesn't have a searchable database - VORP (no fielding) does, but not the number I'm using - so, while what I'd like to say is Vance was the best pitcher in baseball that year, that would take some more time to ferret out. But 13.6 - 13.6 is a historically significant number - and then, the year after Wheat retired, in '28 - Vance had a 12.9. That's over a quarter of his career value in two seasons, out of 21 seasons pitched. Sometimes it goes like that. Here's a simple lookup - Vance won the MVP in '24 and almost certainly should have. He finished 11th in '28 and that's probably robbery. Wheat finished 3rd for MVP in '24 - teammates finishing 1/3 in MVP, teammates going over 12.0 in WARP the same season, yeah, that's sort of a thing - particularly an arm and a bat.

Both Wheat and Vance are in the HOF, joining Lemon as guys from the list thusfar in the HOF. Wheat's top comp. is listed as Tony Gwynn, and sort of a poor man's Gwynn is not a bad way to think about him; he had a career untranslated BA of .317 and OBP of .369 - so he would have been more valuable if he took a walk every now and again.

Incidentally, I heard Andre Dawson (on the list) on Fox Sports Radio this weekend; he was asked by the hosts why he thought he wasn't in the HOF, with scorn, he said he had heard it was because he didn't walk enough.

The hosts thought this was the most ridiculous thing they had ever heard; Andre Dawson's lifetime untranslated OBP was .323 - it's less that he should have walked more than that he should have made fewer outs. Phrased that way - that Andre Dawson (who is on the list about 40 spots away) made too many outs, it seems a little less guffaw worthy.

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