Hall of Fame By the Numbers Pt 5: Pitchers

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One time, I had a friend ask me if I thought Jim Edmonds was a Hall of Famer. I really didn’t think so, but I wanted to compare his stats to others in the Hall. As a result, I wanted to know about other players who weren’t in the Hall or seemed questionable.

I had a problem deciding what would be the best way to determine who would be in, so I created a few different ways.

First off, I decided to look at rates rather than most stats. While not all players have over 500 home runs, they could average more home runs per at bat than other players; this was useful for players that had great careers but missed time for various reasons, like being drafted into the military or injured. So, I took various rates and gave a point for being above the average and took a point for being below average.

I also looked at the player versus Hall of Famers at their position and versus Hall hitters/pitchers as a whole. This would give a position specific score and a general score.

The score is in 2 points; first is the position score and the second is the general score and both are based off the point scale listed above. The score comes from ERA, Win Percentage, IP/G (for starters), K/9, BB/9 (which will show up as negative if they were better than average – I forgot to change it), and K/BB. For closers, I looked at Saves per game (which isn’t on the stats; I’ll list it for the 2 closers).

So, this is the fifth part – Pitchers.

Bert Blyleven
Blyleven spent a majority of his career with the Twins, with whom he broadcasts for now. He’s been on the ballot for quite a while and seems close to making it every year.

Blyleven is an interesting case. He’s close to 300 wins, which would have made him a lock. He also has 250 losses; it makes his Win Percentage just below the average. He’s got a better K and BB numbers than HOF starters and pitchers.

Score: 2/2
Ruling: In the Hall

Kevin Brown
Brown bounced around, but spent more time with the Rangers than any other team. He’s probably best known for having one of the worst contracts in baseball history. I included him because he’s eligible for the Hall next year.

I was surprised to find out how well Brown’s stats matched up. His K rates (K/9 and K/BB) were both above average. He had a lower win total, but his win percentage was higher.

Score: 1/4
Ruling: In the Hall

Tommy John
John seemed to pitch forever and spent most of his time with the Yankees. He’s probably best known for having experimental ligament replacement surgery that ended up using his name; some think he deserves to be in the Hall for this.

His rates are all subpar for HOF starters and pitchers; his numbers aren’t horrible though. He was 12 wins away from the 300 milestone, but he also had 700 more innings pitched than the average starter.

Score: -4/-4
Ruling: Not in the Hall

Jim Kaat
Kaat spent most of his playing time with the Twins. He pitched a long career that I always assumed that was OK; not spectacular, but not a pitcher that would hurt his team.

He’s kind of in the middle; his IP/G was low, even when compared to all HOF pitchers. His rates though weren’t that bad. He’s pretty much right in the middle of guys already inducted.

Score: 0/0
Ruling: In the Hall

Jack Morris
Morris spent most of his career in Detroit, but had equally memorable moments with other teams. I’d never cared for him after the 1987 World Series, but I could understand why people were pushing for his HOF induction.

While I initially thought he’d be in, I was wrong. Only his K/9 exceeds HOF starters. His numbers are strong, but not quite strong enough.

Score: -3/-2
Ruling: Not in the Hall

Hideo Nomo
Nomo spent most of his playing days with the Dodgers; he did bounce around quite a bit. I included him because he changed the game of baseball; he opened the door to Japan. He also had a couple of no hitters and a few good years.

He’s solid, but not quite there for numbers alone. His deceptive delivery make his K rates high, but also affected his control for the high BB rate. He also didn’t pitch in the majors for very long, since he played for quite a while in Japan.

Score: -2/-2
Ruling: Not in the Hall

Rick Reuschel
Reuschel pitched more years with the Cubs than any other team; I remember his as a Giant though. I always knew who he was, but didn’t think he was anything special.

And I was wrong. His numbers sit right in the middle of HOF pitchers, which works in his favor. His 3 rates are really what saves him.

Score: 0/0
Ruling: In the Hall

Allie Reynolds
Allie Reynolds would be a Yankee if ever inducted. He’s another player that I didn’t know much about.

Reynolds had a short, but distinguished career. He’d be another league average HOF pitcher if he were inducted. He also had 49 saves, but that wouldn’t do anything to help him since it’d be a horrible save rate.

Score: 0/0
Ruling: In the Hall

Luis Tiant
Tiant was a fixture with the Red Sox; he’s still loved by their fans. I knew he was a good pitcher, but never looked at his stats prior to this.

He logged fewer innings than HOF pitchers, but he showed a good K rate. His high BB rate is what does him in. Sorry Red Sox fans.

Score: -2/-2
Ruling: Not in the Hall

Lon Warneke
Warneke would be a Cub based off playing time. Here is yet another player that I didn’t know about. I’m as intrigued by Cubs I don’t know as Cardinals I don’t know.

Warneke didn’t fare well. His win percentage was higher than most HOF pitchers, but his K and BB rates were lower. He was another one that had a shorter career as well.

Score: -2/-2
Ruling: Not in the Hall

Now, since there weren’t many relievers, there wasn’t as much to go off of (but more than DHs). I’m standing by the scores for relievers, but there were a couple of things to remember. The main factor was that Dennis Eckersley spent part of his career as a starter, so his win and inning totals were higher than most relievers; that’s part of the reason why rates were important. Secondly, the other 4 closers in the Hall would pitcher more than 1 inning like they do now. I’m using a SV/G as a score; the average SV/G for HOF relievers is .29; it’s .19 for HOF pitchers.

One thing that I did not include in scores was the IP/G for all pitchers. Relievers averaged 2.1 IP per game, where as the starters averaged 7.0; it would be an automatic negative if I included it.

John Franco
Franco was a fixture at the back of the Mets bullpen for years. He was THE closer before Mariano Rivera showed up. I was assuming that he’d be a lock for the Hall.

Franco is comparable to the closers already in the Hall. He’s got a good K rate and he’s also got the high save rate (.38 SV/G). He’s a prime candidate to be inducted.

Score: 0/2
Ruling: In the Hall

Lee Smith
Smith had his longest stint with the Cubs. He was the All Time Saves Leader until Trevor Hoffman passed him a few years ago. If some of the guys that are currently in are among the elite relievers, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be either.

His lines are a lot like Franco’s; right there with the other HOF closers. His save rate (.47 SV/G) is higher than anyone in the Hall. He really is a no-brainer.

Score: 0/2
Ruling: In the Hall

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