Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
Home     List of Articles



Tom Tresh
Tom Tresh as Seen Through Player Won-Lost Records

Tom Tresh was a bit before my time (I turned one during his final major-league season). I have always had a soft spot for Tresh, however, for the somewhat off-beat reason that his name is the closest of any player in major-league history to my own name (Tom Thress - silent h).

The first table below presents Tom Tresh's career as measured by Player won-lost records.

Tom Tresh
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1961NYA22
7
0.30.30.439-0.0
0.0
0.20.20.485-0.00.0
1962NYA23
157
24.020.40.5411.8
3.5
22.721.20.5160.72.4
1963NYA24
145
21.214.60.5922.7
4.0
19.516.10.5481.12.5
1964NYA25
153
21.017.00.5531.2
2.8
19.418.20.515-0.21.3
1965NYA26
156
22.220.40.5210.2
1.8
23.219.40.5451.22.8
1966NYA27
151
20.019.00.512-0.1
1.4
21.917.90.5501.43.0
1967NYA28
130
14.717.60.455-2.2
-0.8
16.016.90.486-1.20.2
1968NYA29
152
19.919.60.5040.7
2.3
18.718.60.5010.52.0
30
139
15.515.00.5080.6
1.9
14.214.60.4920.11.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,190
158.7143.90.5244.9
17.0
155.7143.20.5213.715.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
18
2.52.00.557 0.42.42.30.508 0.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,208
161.2145.90.524
17.4
158.1145.50.521 15.8


Tom Tresh's Prime
Tom Tresh actually had a very good, albeit short, career. He was voted American League Rookie of the Year in 1962, made the all-star team in two seasons, won one Gold Glove, and received MVP votes four times. Unfortunately, he suffered a serious knee injury in 1967, tried to play through it, which was probably a mistake, and ended up playing his last game at age 31 (in his age-30 season). A good biography of Tresh is available as part of the SABR Bio-Project.

The next table shows the 10 players most similar to Tom Tresh from age 23 through 30, the entirety of Tresh's career, except for his 9-game cup of coffee in 1961, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Most Similar Players to Tom Tresh in Value
(Ages 23 to 30)
Wins over Baseline
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Batting Baserunning Fielding
Tom Tresh
1,183
158.4143.64.9
17.0
3.90.22.9
Dusty Baker
1,142
148.8132.83.6
14.6
4.50.23.3
Adam Jones
1,187
156.9146.04.6
15.8
3.20.43.8
Roberto Clemente
1,138
163.0139.25.2
17.2
5.20.53.6
George Bell
1,121
150.8135.54.6
15.7
5.70.62.7
Kirby Puckett
1,070
144.6134.53.8
14.2
4.3-0.22.9
Vernon Wells
1,179
149.0142.73.3
14.3
2.30.33.6
Jackie Jensen
996
136.1119.54.4
14.9
4.20.52.7
Del Ennis
1,197
175.3156.73.7
17.0
7.1-0.13.2
Bobby Thomson
1,079
140.2127.53.0
13.7
4.80.62.2
Jose Cruz Jr.
1,058
127.8119.42.8
12.7
2.60.53.4


That's not a bad list of players. It includes three MVP winners (although Jensen won his MVP award in his age-31 season), and two Hall-of-Famers, although both Clemente and Puckett added significantly to their Hall-of-Fame cases after age 30. A good set of players, but, especially viewed exclusively over the age range shown here, perhaps not great.

Tom Tresh's Fielding
Tom Tresh had one of the more unusual major-league careers, in terms of what positions he played and when he played them.

For his career, he played 521 games in LF, 351 at SS, 291 in CF, 65 at 3B, and 28 in RF. That's an unusual enough spread of games. But what is perhaps even more unusual is the order in which he played them.

In 1962, at the age of 23, Tresh played 111 games at shorstop. He then went five seasons without playing so much as an inning at shorstop. Then, in 1968 and 1969, he played 237 games at shorstop at ages 29 and 30.

In the interim five seasons, he played the outfield. Even there, rather than shifting from center field to left field as he aged, he played mostly LF at age 25 (101 starts) in between seasons in CF at ages 24 (95 starts) and 26 (103 starts). At age 27, he played 151 games without playing more than 69 at any position, including 64 of his 65 career games at third base.

The next table shows Tom Tresh's career (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) fielding won-lost records by position.

Tom Tresh
Fielding Player Won-Lost Records
Position Games Innings eWins eLosses eWin Pct.
3B65563.12.62.40.522
SS3513,031.114.715.20.491
LF5213,950.221.621.80.497
CF2912,179.08.28.30.499
RF28231.01.20.90.575


For most players, their fielding performance will tend to improve as they move down the "defensive spectrum". That is, players will generally rate better in left field (relative to the average left fielder) than they will rate in center field (relative to the average center fielder). Not so much with Tom Tresh. With the exception of the two positions that he played the least often, Tresh was simply an average fielder, wherever he played and whenever he played there. The 23-year-old Tom Tresh was a somewhat below-average defensive shortstop (0.478 winning percentage); five years later, having not played an inning at SS in the interim, the 29-30 year-old Tresh, playing on knees bad enough to force him out of baseball, actually played somewhat better defensively at shortstop (0.496 winning percentage). In between, he had been a more or less average defensive outfielder, regardless of position (0.499 winning percentage).

What if Tom Tresh Had Been a Shortstop His Whole Career?
In 1964, Tom Tresh batted .246/.342/.402 in a league in which non-pitchers batted .256/.324/.397. So Tresh was a somewhat above-average hitter. But the average left fielder (where Tresh played 108 games) batted .262/.338/.443. So Tresh was an above-average hitter compared to all non-pitchers, but was actually a somewhat below-average hitter for a left fielder, where he played most of the season. In contrast, the average American League shortstop in 1964 batted only .260/.332/.391. Tresh was a below-average hitter for a left fielder but would have been an above-average hitter for a shortstop. This would have made Tresh quite a bit more valuable if he could have hit .246/.342/.402 as a shortstop than he was by batting .246/.342/.402 as a left fielder.

This is the concept of positional adjustments that is one of the core concepts of sabermetrics. It is much harder to find good hitters who are capable of playing even an average defensive shortstop - as Tresh was - than it is to find good hitters capable of playing the outfield.

In fact, let's put some real names out there. In 1964, the Yankees played Tresh in the outfield in order to play Tony Kubek at shortstop. Kubek batted .229/.275/.340. If Tresh could have fielded as well as Kubek (Player won-lost records show Kubek as almost perfectly average defensively in 1964), he would have been a much more valuable shortstop than Kubek was. Of course, moving Tresh to shortstop would have opened up a spot in the outfield.

The Yankees' fourth outfielder in 1964 was Hector Lopez, who batted .260/.317/.418 in 313 plate appearances. So, moving Tresh would have meant replacing Kubek's .229/.275/.340 bat in the lineup with Lopez's .260/.317/.418 bat. That seems like an improvement for the Yankees.

Alternately, backup catcher Johnny Blanchard batted .255/.344/.435 in 189 plate appearances for the Yankees. The Yankees' starting catcher, Elston Howard played 227 games in left field in his career (although none in 1964) while Blanchard played 169 games as a corner outfielder in his career (including 14 games in 1964). Shifting either Howard or Blanchard to left field and using the other at catcher (as, for example, the Yankees did with Howard and Yogi Berra from 1955 - 1961) with Tresh at shortstop would have also inserted a better bat than Kubek's in the Yankees lineup.

The next table re-imagines Tom Tresh's career if he had been exclusively a shortstop over his career. This assumes that his Player wins and losses would have been identical to his actual totals - including his fielding decisions (since, as discussed earlier, Tresh's fielding winning percentage seemed to be generally unaffected by what position he was playing). All that changes here are the positional average and replacement level to which he is compared.

Tom Tresh
Player Won-Lost Records as Full-Time Shortstop
Season pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
19610.30.3-0.0
-0.0
0.20.2-0.00.0
196224.020.42.2
3.9
22.721.21.12.8
196321.214.63.7
5.1
19.516.12.13.5
196421.017.02.0
3.6
19.418.20.62.1
196522.220.41.4
3.1
23.219.42.44.1
196620.019.00.9
2.5
21.917.92.54.0
196714.717.6-0.9
0.5
16.016.90.11.6
196819.919.61.0
2.6
18.718.60.82.3
196915.515.00.6
2.0
14.214.60.11.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)158.7143.910.9
23.4
155.7143.29.722.0


To give a sense of how that would improve the value of Tresh's career, the next table shows the 10 players most similar to this all-shorstop version of Tom Tresh, from ages 23 through 30.

Most Similar Players to Tom Tresh in Value
(Age 23 to 30)
Wins over Baseline
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Batting Baserunning Fielding
Tom Tresh
1,190
158.4145.911.0
23.4
3.90.25.0
Jim Fregosi
1,160
152.2141.49.8
21.8
2.80.35.1
Dustin Pedroia
1,120
144.7128.89.6
19.7
4.00.25.5
Andruw Jones
1,256
179.6148.713.1
25.8
7.4-0.05.3
Rico Petrocelli
1,120
137.8122.39.7
20.4
5.1-0.24.6
Brooks Robinson
1,260
168.1141.110.7
23.1
3.30.55.6
Billy Herman
970
141.9123.910.1
21.2
1.50.65.2
Roy Smalley III
1,079
131.5128.96.8
16.8
2.60.05.1
Pie Traynor
1,104
145.9125.212.0
23.0
1.80.75.4
Gil McDougald
1,089
144.5111.417.2
27.6
3.90.34.6
Davey Johnson
1,131
134.3123.77.8
18.4
2.1-0.24.4


This new list of most similar players includes one Hall-of-Famer, who won MVP award within the age range covered here. The list also includes two other MVP winners, who, again, won their awards within the age range covered here. The rest of the these players fall mostly into the "very good, but probably not quite great" class, but - as expected - are, I think, a cut above the earlier list of sims for the real Tom Tresh.

Overall, Tom Tresh is a pretty good player to have as a (sort-of) namesake.



All articles are written so that they pull data directly from the most recent version of the Player won-lost database. Hence, any numbers cited within these articles should automatically incorporate the most recent update to Player won-lost records. In some cases, however, the accompanying text may have been written based on previous versions of Player won-lost records. I apologize if this results in non-sensical text in any cases.

Home     List of Articles