Blue Jays: Is Omar Vizquel a Hall of Fame shortstop?

BOSTON, MA - JULY 22: Omar Vizquel
BOSTON, MA - JULY 22: Omar Vizquel /

For the first time, Omar Vizquel’s name will appear on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (“BBWAA”) ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame (“HOF”). Is Vizquel worthy of induction into the HOF?

Omar Vizquel played 24 seasons in the Major Leagues and his last was with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012. Vizquel was a light-hitting (82 OPS+), great-glove shortstop. Should the BBWAA select him to be the 22nd shortstop in the HOF?

Who are comparable HOF shortstops?

For comparison purposes, I used Ozzie Smith because he is the modern-day gold standard for a light-hitting (87 OPS+), superior-glove shortstop; he was voted into the HOF in his first year of eligibility. Luis Aparicio, who was elected in his sixth year of eligibility, was a similar type of shortstop with a career 82 OPS+. Phil Rizzuto (93 OPS+) was added to the list because he has the lowest career bWAR of the modern HOF shortstops and was selected by the Veteran’s Committee after his BBWAA ballot eligibility lapsed. See note (1) below for the definition of a modern-day shortstop.

Omar Vizquel is not hall worthy

More from Toronto Blue Jays News

The basis of this analysis will be Jay Jaffe’s JAWS approach to prospective HOF members.

For the following reasons, Vizquel does not measure up as a Hall of Famer:

  • Vizquel’s career and peak bWAR figures are at least 22% less than those of Ozzie Smith and Luis Aparicio;
  • If inducted, Vizquel would have the second lowest career BWAR of the modern day HOF shortstops;
  • His peak bWAR averages 3.8 per season, which is just below that of an All-Star (a bWAR of 4 to 5);
  • Alan Trammell and Bert Campaneris, who were not voted in by the BBWAA, have better career bWAR, peak bWAR, and JAWS numbers than Vizquel; and
  • Vizquel only appeared on one MVP ballot during his career (Smith received votes in six seasons and Aparicio was on ten ballots).

The bWAR numbers are as follows:

Hall of Fame Shortstops (“SS”)

  • (1) I arbitrarily excluded any shortstop that did not play after 1950. That decision reduced the list of HOF shortstops from 21 to 9.

Next: Blue Jays should gamble on Mark Appel

The last word

Omar Vizquel had a long, terrific career as an MLB shortstop. However, in terms of bWAR, his peak performance over his best years was not at the level of an all-star. Accordingly, Vizquel is not HOF-worthy.