Monday, August 6, 2012

Coming up on the left side

OK, so last time we looked at the best HoF starters.  That means we’re looking at the bottom 3 tiers of starters in this entry.  We came to a decent realization before that the guys from the pre-1900s skewed the average of starters WAR/yr way too high, so these guys reflect that change as well.  I’ll say up front that someone that people look at as the greatest pitcher of all time due to his really REALLY high number of strikeouts and those 7 no hitters of his was helped greatly.  Remember, these are your average to below average to failing Hall of Famers.  The guys on top here are the ones that should be used as the most comparable to a pitcher being inducted into the Hall.  Here we go:


Ryan was initially on the low end of the D tier.  That 27 year career did hurt him some.  Also walking nearly 3000 batters.  And having years of 200+ walks.  Who does that?  That’s why his H/9 is low (it’s like 6.9 or some ludicrous number), cause he walked a bunch of hitters!  He’s a Hall of Fame pitcher, no doubt, but not as great as some people think.

I lamented having to put Feller, one of my favorite pitchers of all time, in the C tier but he lost some prime prime sweet years to the war.  It’s admirable.  It’s a great thing to look up to.  But, his career is pretty typical of a Hall of Fame pitcher, and probably would be a high B rank at least if it hadn’t been for his service.  I’d have to forfeit my objectivity card (it’s a plain white business card with black text in 12 point font that says “you are objective”) if I did anything else to him.

Now, will someone tell me, would Whitey Ford or Jim Palmer be in the Hall of Fame if they didn’t play for powerhouse teams in their time?  I mean, Palmer had a decent stretch where he topped 8 WAR one year and was about 6 or 7 for 5 out of 6 years in a stretch, but was mostly a 3-4 WAR pitcher most of the rest of the time, and plenty of years where he was worth 0-2 WAR.  Ford, on the other hand, topped 6 WAR once.  And that was at the tail end of his career.  Both of them suffered from walking too many compared to the number they struck out.  I have nothing against non strikeout pitchers (guys that tend to strike out 5 or 6 per 9), but if you aren’t going to strike people out at least be able to not walk guys, too.  When your career K/BB is close to 1.5, you didn’t do your job as a pitcher.  For all the walks that Nolan Ryan gave up, he still struck out twice as many batters.  If voters knew about how poor the “win” stat is for pitchers back then, I doubt that you’d see guys like these winning Cy Young Awards and entry into the Hall of Fame.  

Catfish Hunter didn’t make my cut, huh?  Why is that?  Well, he only played until he was 33, but did seem to run out of gas those last couple of years and did pitch for 15 seasons.  His 3.26 ERA looks nice, but it’s only 4% better than league average (Jack Morris has the same ERA+ for the record).  Only struck out 5.2 batters per 9, but also controlled the walk (about 2 per 9 innings), so it isn’t like the Ford and Palmer rant I had above.  What hurts him most is the HR.  He gave up 1 per 9 innings, which is pretty high for a Hall of Fame pitcher I’d think without looking it up, and he only had 2 seasons above 6 WAR, which is not great.  Sorry, he was a nice guy and pitched well, but just wasn’t as good as people made him out to be.

Upcoming Ballots:
Jack Morris.  WAR+ of 56.  Please explain why people think he should be in the Hall of Fame.  Please.  Tell me why he is still on the ballot and will get in.  Anyone?  No one?  OK, moving on.

Clemens and Schilling come up on the same ballot.  That’s an interesting combo.  Clemens gets a score of 135, and if the writers decide that he wasn’t massively aided by steroids, he’ll get in.  Schilling gets a score of 94, and if the writers don’t look at his win total he should get in.

Mike Mussina, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.  There’s no way that any upcoming ballot could top a decision like that.  Moose gets a score of 112.  He should get in, and playing for the Yanks will help his cause.  Maddux gets a score of 110, and no doubt he should be in.  Glavine, however, gets a score of 94.  He’s a lot closer to borderline than people remember.

I was wrong in that last paragraph.  This class is the best crop of pitchers possibly ever.  John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson.  Just incredible.  Smoltzie gets an 89, but should get in.  It’s low just because he lost time as a reliever (and was arguably the best NL Closer in the game those years).  Randy Johnson gets a 115, and is no doubt going to be inducted.  Pedro gets a 126, and is going to waltz into Cooperstown.

2016: No one worthy.  And after those guys, who is worthy?

We’re almost done.  Up next is the reliever class, which is by far the smallest in the Hall, but has the potential to grow more as the years go due to the acceptance of the closer role.

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