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Monday, March 05, 2012

BtS: Put Them in the Hall of Fame: Part 3, Kevin Brown

Three Cheers For The Red White And Captain Brown!

I wanted to start with Kevin Brown because he’s a special case (at least on this list). Brown appeared on the 2011 Hall of Fame ballot and received just 2.1% of the vote. Meanwhile, we’ve watched Jack Morris—an inferior pitcher—climb all the way to 66.7% (and counting).

...Brown had eight 4+ WAR seasons, tying him with David Cone. Brown, Cone, Frank Viola, Dave Stieb, and Nap Rucker are all tied for the most 6+ WAR seasons (four). Out of curiosity, I checked 8+ WAR seasons. Brown is one of several pitchers with one. Wilbur Wood, Sam McDowell, and Eddie Cicotte (who is not eligible) have two.

For the ERA+ lists, I only looked at seasons that qualified for the ERA title. Brown has seven seasons of 125 or better, tying him with Cone, Tommy Bridges, and Hippo Vaughn. Crank it up to 150 and Brown is all alone with five. Cicotte and Smokey Joe Wood are behind him with four. I was curious where Cone placed—he’s tied for sixth with two such seasons. For fun, I kicked it up to 175. Brown has one such season. Cicotte and Wood have two each.

Among pitchers, Brown ranks 34th all time with 64.8 WAR. By wWAR, Brown ranks 41st all time (95.9), just behind Sandy Koufax, Hal Newhouser, and Jim Bunning. Eight of the pitchers ahead of him aren’t even eligible for the Hall of Fame yet, so that puts him at 33rd among those eligible. 32 of them are in the Hall of Fame (Bob Caruthers is not). Brown even ranks ahead of 29 starting pitchers who are already in the Hall of Fame (including Mordecai Brown, Dazzy Vance, Don Sutton, and Whitey Ford).

Repoz Posted: March 05, 2012 at 10:57 AM | 90 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, sabermetrics

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   1. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 05, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4074072)
From this past era I have the following pitchers in:

Clemens
Maddux
Johnson
Pedro
Mussina
Brown
Smoltz
Schilling
Rivera

And out:

Cone
Pettitte

----

Wow, I didn't realize Tim Hudson is getting so close. He's got 2500 innings of a 127 ERA+ and 50 WAR. Though his peak is not real strong for a Hall of Fame pitcher.

It's not a secret that Halladay is really close, and Sabathia is making a run, but the following pitchers are also in position to close strong and have good arguments:

Buehrle (more of a peak problem than Hudson has)
Santana (injury questions)
Oswalt (may not get the innings he'll need)
   2. RJ in TO Posted: March 05, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4074090)
Buehrle (more of a peak problem than Hudson has)


I'm going to be very interested to see how he does in the voting when he finally retires. As you note, he really has no peak, so he's going to need to run up a Sutton-esque ending to his career, to get the wins to a level that grabs the BBWAA's attention.

Also, I'm a bit surprised to see you have Brown ahead of Schilling - Schilling beats him by a tiny amount on ERA+, solidly beats him in K/BB, and gains a bunch more when you look at RA+, as about 13% of Brown's runs were unearned, whereas Schilling only allowed about 5%. I'm assuming this is just a matter of you being higher on Brown's peak compared to Schilling's?
   3. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 05, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4074100)
Yes, Ryan, it was a peak thing -- but I didn't really check their records and I probably am underrating Schilling compared to Brown, based on the points you made.

I really love Brown's peak. Five consecutive years totaling 1200 innings of a 165 ERA+. He was a great pitcher, and deserves to be in.
   4. DL from MN Posted: March 05, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4074113)
I have Ray's list +Glavine, +Cone. I'm undecided on Pettitte and Hoffmann.
   5. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 05, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4074115)
I'm comfortable with a HOF where Kevin Brown is just on the outside of the borderline. That is obviously not the HOF we actually have, which is why the actual HOF is an absurdity. The fact that Brown gets dumped from the ballot immediately while Schilling will almost certainly coast in - not to mention the Jack Morris inanity, is reason to never go to the HOF.
   6. Booey Posted: March 05, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4074117)
Ray, is Glavine just an oversight, or do you really not think he had a HOF career?
   7. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 05, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4074122)
Glavine's an oversight. Thanks to both of you for the correction. Without checking, I'd slot him in after Pedro.

---

Hoffman's a no for me, though I haven't looked closely at him in a while.
   8. DanG Posted: March 05, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4074128)
Starting pitchers with 40 pitching WAR and 110 ERA+ debuting since 1980

Rk            Player   WAR ERAOPS+     IP From   To   Age   W   L
1      Roger Clemens 128.4  143   68 4916.2 1984 2007 21
-44 354 184
2        Greg Maddux  96.8  132   75 5008.1 1986 2008 20
-42 355 227
3      Randy Johnson  91.8  136   71 4135.1 1988 2009 24
-45 303 166
4     Pedro Martinez  75.9  154   60 2827.1 1992 2009 20
-37 219 100
5       Mike Mussina  74.8  123   81 3562.2 1991 2008 22
-39 270 153
6     Curt Schilling  69.7  128   76 3261.0 1988 2007 21
-40 216 146
7        Tom Glavine  67.0  118   88 4413.1 1987 2008 21
-42 305 203
'8       Kevin Brown  64.8  127   78 3256.1 1986 2005 21-40 211 144'
9        John Smoltz  63.9  125   76 3473.0 1988 2009 21-42 213 155
10      Roy Halladay  61.8  138   74 2531.0 1998 2011 21
-34 188  92
11        David Cone  57.5  121   82 2898.2 1986 2003 23
-40 194 126
12      Chuck Finley  55.0  115   90 3197.1 1986 2002 23
-39 200 173
13   Bret Saberhagen  54.7  126   81 2562.2 1984 2001 20
-37 167 117
14    Orel Hershiser  51.5  112   88 3130.1 1983 2000 24
-41 204 150
15      Kevin Appier  50.4  121   83 2595.1 1989 2004 21
-36 169 137
16        Tim Hudson  49.9  127   80 2503.1 1999 2011 23
-35 181  97
17     Andy Pettitte  49.9  117   88 3055.1 1995 2010 23
-38 240 138
18       CC Sabathia  49.2  125   79 2364.1 2001 2011 20
-30 176  96
19     Dwight Gooden  47.6  111   86 2800.2 1984 2000 19
-35 194 112
20      Mark Buehrle  46.6  120   90 2476.2 2000 2011 21
-32 161 119
21     Johan Santana  46.5  142   71 1908.2 2000 2010 21
-31 133  69
22        Roy Oswalt  46.3  133   82 2154.0 2001 2011 23
-33 159  93
23         Jimmy Key  45.7  122   86 2591.2 1984 1998 23
-37 186 117
24       Frank Viola  43.9  112   93 2836.1 1982 1996 22
-36 176 150
25        Brad Radke  41.4  113   92 2451.0 1995 2006 22
-33 148 139 
   9. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: March 05, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4074136)
I'm going to be very interested to see how he does in the voting when he finally retires.


Falls off the ballot the first or maybe second year?

Does anyone really consider him a HoF pitcher?
   10. Booey Posted: March 05, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4074137)
I'm actually okay with Brown not being in the Hall. He's similar to Schilling/Smoltz, but when you're talking about guys with borderline (by traditional standards) numbers, narrative is often what decides the in/out line.

Schilling had three 300 strikeout seasons, three 20 win seasons (Brown only had 1, and it was well before his peak), a World Series co-MVP, and he had the bloody sock and helped break the Curse of the Bambino. Smoltz had a CYA, that second career as a closer, and was a key member of a regular season dynasty that played in 5 world series in 9 years (and losing effort or not, that game 7 vs Jack Morris was legendary). Both had some of the best postseason numbers of all time. Brown had the Mitchell Report and a reputation as a d0uche. That's as good a way to define the border line as any other, I guess.

I do think it's ridiculous that he fell off the ballot after a single shot, but it's not terribly surprising considering that no-brainer (again, by tradional standards) candidates with PED connections like Palmeiro and McGwire are only getting 11 and 20 percent of the vote. I don't expect Giambi to see a second ballot either.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: March 05, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4074140)
Does anyone really consider him a HoF pitcher?


Dial.*

A lot of us think that Buerhle (good athlete, great health record, lefthanded) may be able to pitch into his 40s. With the wins he's racked up already, he's still got a reasonable shot at 300 wins.

* I don't know if Chris thinks of him that way, but he's always been very high on Buehrle.

   12. John Northey Posted: March 05, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4074141)
An interesting question to add is why isn't Brown getting more consideration?

1) Just one 20+ win season - too many voters are addicted to this stat
2) His 5 great years (150+ ERA+) had win totals of 18, 17, 16, 14, 13
3) His best year (1.89 ERA, 217 ERA+) was 2nd in Cy voting to Smoltz' teammates...er...John Smoltz getting 24 wins with a 149 ERA+ in 20 more IP.
4) 211 wins lifetime is a low total and requires Cy Young wins to get in generally
5) Played for 6 teams, longest in Texas when they failed to make it to the World Series
6) Sucked for the Yankees, creating a negative viewpoint for many writers at the end of his career (see Tim Raines)
7) 0-3 6.04 ERA in World Series - basically the anti-Jack Morris
8) Only twice received a pity vote from MVP voters
9) Just 19 in black ink - if you aren't on the leaderboards voters don't notice you
10) Only 3 guys on his 10 most similar made the HOF - Drysdale, Hunter, and Dazzy Vance - guys more in for peak or storyline, neither of which favour Brown

Brown was a great pitcher and deserved more consideration but looking at his case the biggest issue was a complete lack of luck with run support at the right times. If he had run support in '96 (3 ER in his 4 no decisions, lost 6 games allowing 2 or fewer earned runs) then he would've had a Cy Young to help his case. If he had more in his other peak years he might have had 2 or 3 Cy's. If the Rangers held onto him instead of letting him go he might have had the 'one team' bonus. If he pitched better in the World Series he might have had some credit for that (0-2 in the one year his team won a title with an ugly 8.18 ERA). Instead he gets put into the Dave Stieb grouping - guys who were among the best in the game but who never had the luck needed to get Cy Youngs or HOF votes.
   13. RJ in TO Posted: March 05, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4074142)
Does anyone really consider him a HoF pitcher?

Obviously not yet, but he's only 32, has 161 wins with a 120 ERA+ (and 46.6 B-R WAR), and hasn't thrown less than 200 innings since his rookie year. He seems like as good a bet as any crafty lefty to stick around for another decade and keep piling up the wins (above replacement). If he does, he won't necessarily be an exciting candidate, but he'll be a legitimate candidate.
   14. Lassus Posted: March 05, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4074146)
Blah blah blah whine is reason to never go to the HOF.

You are not pretty enough to pass through the Catskills and into the Finger Lakes. The crows and raccoons will probably eat you if you cross into Otsego County.
   15. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 05, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4074149)
see Tim Raines


Tim Raines did not suck for the Yankees. He was an important role player on two world champions. His Yankee years are not what is keeping him below 50% of the vote.
   16. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: March 05, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4074161)
An interesting question to add is why isn't Brown getting more consideration?


His sunny disposition might have something to do with it. I have no doubt that he'd have at the very least stayed on the ballot were it not for his reputation(well earned) as a hard-ass. Maybe he gets 15-20% which at least allows some reexamination of his bona-fides. The guy's peak alone deserved more than a one and done.
   17. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: March 05, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4074163)
11, 13: Fair enough. Honestly, I didn't realize he had 161 wins or (more tellingly) a 120 ERA+. I guess I've miunderestimated him in my mind (even though I admire his style of pitching).
   18. DanG Posted: March 05, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4074165)
As a companion to [#8], other HOF candidates debuting in past 125 years:

Rk          Player  WAR ERA+     IP From   To   Age   W   L
1    Rick Reuschel 66.3  114 3548.1 1972 1991 23
-42 214 191
2       Luis Tiant 60.1  115 3486.1 1964 1982 23
-41 229 172
3       Tommy John 59.0  111 4710.1 1963 1989 20
-46 288 231
4    Jerry Koosman 58.8  110 3839.1 1967 1985 24
-42 222 209
5    Larry Jackson 55.6  113 3262.2 1955 1968 24
-37 194 183
6     Frank Tanana 55.1  106 4188.1 1973 1993 19
-39 240 236
7     Billy Pierce 53.5  119 3306.2 1945 1964 18
-37 211 169
8       Dave Stieb 53.0  123 2895.1 1979 1998 21
-40 176 137
9    Tommy Bridges 50.7  126 2826.1 1930 1946 23
-39 194 138
10      Jack Quinn 49.7  114 3920.1 1909 1933 25
-49 247 218 
   19. flournoy Posted: March 05, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4074180)
I'm going to be very interested to see how [Buehrle] does in the voting when he finally retires. As you note, he really has no peak, so he's going to need to run up a Sutton-esque ending to his career, to get the wins to a level that grabs the BBWAA's attention.


If I recall correctly, he's been talking about retiring for years. It doesn't seem like he'll stick around that long.

Then again, he hasn't actually retired yet, and I seem to remember him saying that he'd only ever pitch for the White Sox or Cardinals. The Marlins, obviously are neither. So maybe I shouldn't take him seriously.
   20. Davo Dozier Posted: March 05, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4074198)
"I'm going to be very interested to see how he does in the voting when he finally retires. As you note, he really has no peak, so he's going to need to run up a Sutton-esque ending to his career, to get the wins to a level that grabs the BBWAA's attention."

One thing that will help Buehrle--that we're probably loath to admit--is that he's very popular with baseball writers and announcers. He's a throwback type of player (a pitch-to-contact guy who pitches VERY quickly), who's considered a very smart player, and he seems to be friendly with the press, and--just by appearances--seems like a really nice person in general.

That's probably worth an extra 10-15 WAR right there, when it comes to Hall of Fame voting.
   21. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: March 05, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4074200)
From DanG's list in #8, my list is weighted for peak and career shape where consecutive primes are slightly favored.

INNER CIRCLE
Clemens
Maddux
---
ALMOST INNER CIRCLE
Johnson
Martinez
---
SOLID HOFERS
Mussina
Brown
Cone
Halladay
Glavine
Schilling
Appier
Stieb
---
BORDERLINE
Saberhagen
Gooden
Smoltz

I'm working on a project to comp up with my personal HOF scaled to the size of the current HOF. Not sure if Saberhagen and Gooden are in or out yet, but I believe the borderline is going to fall somewhere around there.

Smoltz has a surprisingly low peak and inconsistency/injuries kept him from putting up a sustained run of greatness for several years. For instance, in the later half of his career, he had an eight-year gap between 200-inning seasons due to injuries and closing. I don't have a handle on his relief career yet, which could bump him up enough to creep in.
   22. The District Attorney Posted: March 05, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4074204)
why isn't Brown getting more consideration?
The most direct answer to this is that he is not on the ballot to be voted for.
   23. SoSH U at work Posted: March 05, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4074205)
He's a throwback type of player (a pitch-to-contact guy who pitches VERY quickly),


That latter trait alone should be worth a handful of extra WAR come Hall of Fame time. If need be, you can take some away from Josh Beckett's total to balance the scales.
   24. RJ in TO Posted: March 05, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4074210)
If I recall correctly, he's been talking about retiring for years. It doesn't seem like he'll stick around that long.

Then again, he hasn't actually retired yet, and I seem to remember him saying that he'd only ever pitch for the White Sox or Cardinals. The Marlins, obviously are neither. So maybe I shouldn't take him seriously.


Yeah, he was talking about retiring after his last contract. I'm guessing he meant it too, right up until he realized that he's only 32, has his whole life ahead of him, has no marketable skills other than baseball, and a team was willing to pay him about $15 million a year to keep playing baseball.
   25. DL from MN Posted: March 05, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4074214)
I'd support Saberhagen, Reuschel, Steib, Pierce, Bridges and Tiant but not John, Koosman or Finley. My guess is when all is said and done Buehrle will fit in with the John / Koosman / Finley group.

Narrative is the difference between Chuck Finley and Andy Pettitte. The 263 postseason IP for Pettitte makes a difference. It's a highly leveraged extra full-season worth of innings that doesn't show up in WAR.
   26. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 05, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4074218)
If I recall correctly, he's been talking about retiring for years. It doesn't seem like he'll stick around that long.

Then again, he hasn't actually retired yet, and I seem to remember him saying that he'd only ever pitch for the White Sox or Cardinals. The Marlins, obviously are neither. So maybe I shouldn't take him seriously.


From what I can gather, you can basically dismiss retirement talk from players out of hand, until it actually happens. Especially those who have years to go on their contracts.

   27. RJ in TO Posted: March 05, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4074221)
From what I can gather, you can basically dismiss retirement talk from players out of hand, until it actually happens. Especially those who have years to go on their contracts.


Unless they're Jeff King.
   28. DL from MN Posted: March 05, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4074226)
A decent pitching performance in a World Series game would help Tim Hudson a LOT.
   29. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: March 05, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4074236)
INNER CIRCLE
Clemens
Maddux
---
ALMOST INNER CIRCLE
Johnson
Martinez



I guess it would depend on what and how many comprise the inner-circle. I honestly don't see anyway Unit and Pedro aren't included. I'm sure this has been argued ad-infinitum, but Pedro, despite his shortish career, is on the short list of greatest peak ever and Johnson's upper-tier combination of peak/prime/career is an even easier call.
   30. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 05, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4074244)
SOLID HOFERS
Mussina
Brown
Cone
Halladay
Glavine
Schilling
Appier
Stieb

---
BORDERLINE
Saberhagen
Gooden
Smoltz


Jamie, I can't see an argument that any of Cone, Appier, and Stieb are "solid" HOFers.

I mean, you can perhaps make peak arguments for them, but they still end up as weak/borderline.

EDIT: Er, particularly when you have Smoltz as borderline.
   31. John Northey Posted: March 05, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4074248)
The Raines comment was more about how his time with the Yankees helped shape how he'd be viewed by HOF voters. If Raines was on the ballot a couple years earlier might it have helped him? He went from full-time player to part time and then spent another few years as a part timer. The further from your peak you are when retiring the harder it is to gain traction I'd think unless you pass some of the milestone numbers (3000 hits, 500 home runs, etc).

From 1996 to 2002 (his final years) Raines had 310 hits, 24 HR, 31 SB while hitting 280/385/406. Would 2295 hits have been enough or did he need to crack 2600 to get a serious look from the writers? Was 777 SB enough or did he need to crack 800?

If he made the ballot in 2001 (instead of still playing) he'd have been on with Winfield, Puckett, Mattingly, Dave Stewart, Lou Whittaker, and Kirk Gibson. Would voters have put him in the Gibson/Whittaker slot or mid-way between them and Winfield/Pucket? Jim Rice was up to 57% by then, Murphy & Parker in the teens. In 2002 with Dawson coming on would it have helped or hurt?

Hmmm... on second thought given how writers are it might have been best for Raines to wait. Back then he probably would've been in the Whittaker/Gibson group or (if lucky) the Murphy/Parker area. Jim Rice never made the slightest bit of sense, and I don't see Raines as gaining that momentum early on.

Nah, the best thing for Raines would've been to just not miss June/July in both 1996 & 1997 (forgot he missed the core of the summer both years). That cost him 4 months of time playing for a championship caliber team and that would've added to his story. Lupus hitting him in 1999 after leaving the Yankees also hurt as his 1999 season looks bad, and he hit well coming back in 2001 (124 OPS+ in 109 PA).

I wonder if the Expos had given him a plate appearance in 2004 (their final season - he was up in September as a coach, or at least invited to) if the extra 2 years away from Rickey on the ballot might have helped too. Either to be on well before Rickey or well after.

Ah well. No way of knowing. But I do have to admit, the more I look at it the more it seems the NY time didn't hurt like I always thought it did.
   32. RJ in TO Posted: March 05, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4074250)
Jamie, I can't see an argument that any of Cone, Appier, and Stieb are "solid" HOFers.

Regrettably, despite my insane Stieb fanboyism, I'm forced to agree with this. Unless the Hall is a lot bigger than I think it is, he'd be a marginal inductee - there are certainly worse pitchers currently in, but the bulk of them are either VC "elect my buddy this year, and we'll elect your buddy next year" guys, or weak/quirky selections from the BBWAA.
   33. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 05, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4074254)
Regrettably, despite my insane Stieb fanboyism, I'm forced to agree with this.


I, too, have a lot of respect for Cone/Appier/Stieb -- as well as for Saberhagen and Gooden -- and I feel that most of these pitchers (Gooden excepted -- people seem to have his career pegged accurately) are extremely underrated. But that doesn't mean they are HOFers, let alone "solid" HOFers. I might perhaps be persuaded to agree in a case or two, but that still wouldn't make them "solid."

They are more useful as tools to explain why pitchers like Jack Morris aren't deserving: If you don't have a good argument that you're better than Cone/Appier/Stieb/Saberhagen, you don't belong.

   34. John Northey Posted: March 05, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4074258)
Smoltz vs Stieb & Appier & Cone - never thought of it so lets see...
Smoltz: peak ERA+ (starting) was 149 (Cy Young year)
Stieb: peak ERA+ was 173
Appier: peak ERA+ was 179
Cone: peak ERA+ was 171

Lets check ERA+ from top down (qualified for ERA title) top 10 seasons...
Smoltz: 149/144/141/140/139/138/135/130/128/124
Stieb: 173/146/142/140/138/130/124/117/111/109
Appier: 179/166/139/138/137/131/123/121/117/113
Cone: 171/159/147/138/137/131/129/125/117/111

Interesting. All 3 of Stieb/Appier/Cone had at least one year better than anything Smoltz did (Stieb got 14 wins for his effort, Smoltz 24). However, after the first 3 seasons Smoltz wins every other year after that. The key for Smoltz was consistency as a starter plus his 3 great closing seasons. The only way I could see taking Stieb/Appier/Cone ahead of Smoltz is to put a ton of value on the peak season or 2 over all else. And this isn't getting into Smoltz' playoff record which is excellent (15-4 2.67 ERA but just 1 World Series ring).
   35. DL from MN Posted: March 05, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4074261)
I agree that Cone, Appier, Gooden and Stieb are borderline. If they are "borderline" then about half of them should be "in".
   36. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 05, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4074262)
A decent pitching performance in a World Series game would help Tim Hudson a LOT.

Let's make this happen. In 2012.
   37. Davo Dozier Posted: March 05, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4074302)
A decent pitching performance in a World Series game would help Tim Hudson a LOT.

Let's make this happen. In 2012.
Tim Hudson to the Rangers for Jurickson Profar and Martin Perez?
   38. just plain joe Posted: March 05, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4074345)
Tim Hudson to the Rangers for Jurickson Profar and Martin Perez?


The sound you hear is Jon Daniels, Nolan Ryan, et al laughing.
   39. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 05, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4074350)
1 Roger Clemens 128.4 143 68 4916.2 1984 2007 21-44 354 184
2 Greg Maddux 96.8 132 75 5008.1 1986 2008 20-42 355 227


I agree that Clemens was better than Maddux, but 30 wins better in fewer innings? That seems very, very hard to believe.
   40. Walt Davis Posted: March 05, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4074354)
Jamie, I can't see an argument that any of Cone, Appier, and Stieb are "solid" HOFers.

Jamie's goal is a personal HoF that is the same size as the current one. The current one is rather large, about half the guys there were put there by one version of a VC or other and half of them had careers that started before 1920.

A personal HoF the same size as the real one allows you to replace Hunter and Pennock and Sutter and ... Cone, Reuschel, Saberhagen and Stieb are all in the Hall of Merit albeit probably borderline cases.

On Brown -- obviously he got screwed (from a strict baseball perspective) in that he didn't even get 5% but the recent standards for starters among the voters are just ridiculously high. They've yet to elect a starter whose career started after 1970 (Blyleven and we know that was a struggle). Remember, they didn't elect Bunning. Over the last 40 elections, the only guys they've elected with fewer than 300 wins are:

Koufax -- 3 CYA
Drysdale -- 1 CYA
Gibson -- 2 CYA, 1 MVP, all-time ERA record
Marichal --
Hunter -- 1 CYA (plus a 2, 3, 4)
Palmer -- 3 CYA
Jenkins -- 1 CYA (plus 2 2s, 2 3s, 3000 K)
Blyleven -- heaps o' Ks

Now Hunter sticks out like a sore thumb and you can argue Brown is the equal of Drysdale or Marichal but that is not an easy list to crack. And you better bring a CYA.

Brown not only didn't win a CYA, he only has 1 2nd and a 3rd. He didn't even make it to 2400 K. The only stats that love Brown are the rate stats. Morris's relative success and even Blyleven's eventual election I think show that the voters, when it comes to pitchers, are not ready to vote quality over quantity and if you're a peak pitcher, it better be a pretty amazing (and obvious) peak.

And it's not clear they have to change anytime soon. Maddux, Clemens, Johnson, Glavine and Pedro are no-brainers (might make Glavine or Pedro wait a year). Smoltz and Schilling have 3000 Ks, excellent WPs and great postseason performance. Mussina is the tough one to call -- 270 wins and 2800 Ks will probably be enough (but no CYA, unspectacular postseason, no defining moments).

Brown also suffers from the late peak. If you peak early, contemporaneous writers see you as a future HoFer and you might hold that impression even if you fade quickly (see how much love Pinson and Oliva still get and Cepeda made it via VC). If you start out slow, you're pretty much doomed to being a career candidate.

EDIT: "half of them started before 1920" refers to pitchers; didn't look at hitters.
   41. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 05, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4074357)
I agree that Clemens was better than Maddux, but 30 wins better in fewer innings? That seems very, very hard to believe.


It doesn't seem all that far off to me. I'd think it's because:

1. The innings difference is less than 100.

2. But the ERA+ difference is 11 (143-132).

3. It took Maddux longer to get his career as an ace started than it did Clemens.

4. Maddux lost some of his absolute best peak innings to the strike. Clemens did have a league-leading 178 ERA+ when the games stopped in 1994, but he had only a 117 ERA+ for 1995 (granted it wasn't all that many games missed). In contrast, Maddux was pitching insane during that period -- at a historic level.

5. Clemens pitched behind some bad defenses, particularly in New York.

6. Clemens had a stronger finish to his career; Maddux had more average-ish seasons.

7. Clemens never had a bad season, or anything close to it; at his very worse, he was league average, which is pretty remarkable.
   42. Booey Posted: March 05, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4074414)
Jamie's goal is a personal HoF that is the same size as the current one. The current one is rather large, about half the guys there were put there by one version of a VC or other and half of them had careers that started before 1920.

A personal HoF the same size as the real one allows you to replace Hunter and Pennock and Sutter and ... Cone, Reuschel, Saberhagen and Stieb are all in the Hall of Merit albeit probably borderline cases.



I always feared that the attempt to match the size of the actual HOF was a fatal mistake right from the get-go that was going to come back and hurt the HOM by the time they caught up, and IMHO it's started to do just that. I guess the original opinion was that the HOF has often elected the wrong players, but to me it's pretty clear now that their main problem is that they've elected TOO MANY players, period. There are far more bad choices in the HOF than there are deserving snubs on the outside. Therefore, if you take out the 50 or so worst selections and replace them with the 20 or so most obvious snubs, you're still left with 30 slots you need to fill with borderline candidates. Guys like Stieb, Cone, Reuschel, Saberhagen, Randolph, Reggie Smith, and maybe even Nettles and Will Clark were are very good players...but I just don't see any of them as being HOFers. The HOM is basically replacing bad and borderline selections with new borderline selections.

Don't get me wrong; it was a great idea and I still think it's a much better representation of value than the real HOF...but it would've been even better with 30 or so fewer inductees.
   43. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 05, 2012 at 05:09 PM (#4074421)
Jamie's goal is a personal HoF that is the same size as the current one.


I don't think that goal does much of anything. You replace the mistakes with other players who are also mistakes. Woo. To me, it's better to just take out the mistakes and be done with it.
   44. SoSH U at work Posted: March 05, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4074430)
I always feared that the attempt to match the size of the actual HOF was a fatal mistake right from the get-go that was going to come back and hurt the HOM by the time they caught up, and IMHO it's started to do just that.


Agreed. Besides inducting those players you mentioned, who seem less worthy of such permanent celebration, the HoM's size decision was only true for a fixed point in time (the date the HoM was created). Since we don't know how many players will be inducted in the future (though it surely looks like the rate of growth has slowed just as the number of qualified players has increased), the HoM either has to dovetail from the same sizedness as the real Hall, or, barring that, raise the bar for a Hall of Merit-worthy career.
   45. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: March 05, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4074449)
Therefore, if you take out the 50 or so worst selections and replace them with the 20 or so most obvious snubs, you're still left with 30 slots you need to fill with borderline candidates. Guys like Stieb, Cone, Reuschel, Saberhagen, Randolph, Reggie Smith, and maybe even Nettles and Will Clark were are very good players...but I just don't see any of them as being HOFers. The HOM is basically replacing bad and borderline selections with new borderline selections.


First of all, I don't think there are 50 mistakes in the Hall. The 50th worst HOFer by WAR (looking only at players enshrined for their playing performance), is someone like Waite Hoyt or Bobby Doerr (~47 WAR). However, below 47 are some deserving HOFers like Roy Campanella, Hoyt Wilhelm, and Dizzy Dean. So the 50th worst is probably someone like Kiki Cuyler or Eppa Rixey (~50 WAR).

However, excepting that Cuyler and Rixey are undeserving, can they and everyone below them be replaced with better players? Maybe. The 50th best WAR among players eligible but not in the Hall is someone like Bret Saberhagen or Stan Hack at ~55

So, going just by career WAR, you can replace the 50th worst HOFer with someone not in and still do (marginally) better. Make it 40 and you're way ahead, say Will Clark or David Cone (~57) replacing Hack Wilson or Herb Pennock (~39)
   46. DL from MN Posted: March 05, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4074454)
Hall of Merit has inducted roughly 1 player for every 10 team-seasons. We're likely to keep inducting 3 a year for the forseeable future.
   47. Walt Davis Posted: March 05, 2012 at 07:05 PM (#4074569)
#42 and 43 ... my personal HoF would be along the lines you suggest. However I am magnanimous enough to allow Jamie to define his personal HoF however he wants. :-)

Well, as long as he doesn't have an actual vote.

Anyway, yes, I think the writers have made few sins of inclusion and probably only slightly more sins of exclusion (Negro Leaguers, 19th C guys, etc. aside). On the pitching side, relievers aside, I think the only mistaken inductions you can make much of a case for are Hunter and Dean (and I'm probably forgetting somebody). There are probably more mistakes of exclusion there.
   48. Booey Posted: March 05, 2012 at 07:09 PM (#4074574)
First of all, I don't think there are 50 mistakes in the Hall.

Maybe not; I was using hypothetical numbers. I haven't actually gone through and counted how many players I think are unworthy, but I stand by my original point - I still think the HoM would have been even more impressive than it already is if the standards for induction had been raised a little bit and they didn't have to match a HOF inductee number that was inflated by a lot of bad VC choices.
   49. DL from MN Posted: March 08, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4076733)
By my count there are about 30 of the Lloyd Waner / Jack Chesbro "whoops we botched those guys" mistakes who really have no argument for the Hall of Fame whatsoever. The other guys who are HoF and not HoM are due to all sorts of reasons - changing perspectives on value, changing perspectives on where the in/out line should be drawn, not accounting for segregation, extra credit for managing or other contributions, etc. They're not in the 250 best players but I wouldn't call them "mistakes" because they're in the top 400.

Take 30 guys out of the Hall of Merit and the in/out line is guys like Keith Hernandez, Earl Averill, Graig Nettles, Willie Randolph, Billy Pierce IN and Will Clark, Andre Dawson, Ken Boyer, Nellie Fox, Bob Lemon OUT. That's a good borderline for me. Draw the line much higher and you're throwing out Sandy Koufax, Cool Papa Bell, Goose Gossage and Don Sutton.
   50. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 08, 2012 at 11:37 AM (#4076740)
The thing is that everyone understands that HOVG players like Saberhagen don't belong in the real Hall of Fame. So if you throw out the mistakes but still end up inducting the Saberhagens, then the Saberhagens also become mistakes, and you haven't really accomplished much. I mean, sure, we'd rather have Saberhagen than Rube Marquard, but we'd rather have neither of them.

And Bret Saberhagen is. not. qualified. by the standards of the real Hall of Fame. So what are you doing, exactly? Why would you have the same size Hall, when everyone understands that mistakes should be removed, thus making the Hall smaller -- not replaced with other mistakes. If you can replace them with _deserving_ players, fine, and your Hall won't be that much smaller. But to replace them with non-deserving players seems almost pointless.
   51. DL from MN Posted: March 08, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4076782)
If Saberhagen isn't qualified then neither are pitchers Koufax, Sutton, Rube Foster (as a player), Gossage, Pud Galvin, Eppa Rixey, Rube Waddell, Clark Griffith, Early Wynn and Al Spalding.

Bret Saberhagen IS qualified by the real standards of the Hall of Fame. A Hall of Fame with Jim Bunning as the worst pitcher is not the real Hall of Fame. Standards for pitchers have risen dramatically lately, with the exception of relief pitchers (they've gone down) and Jack Morris. Part of the problem is Hall of Fame voters love first basemen and corner outfielders and hate pitchers, third basemen and catchers. If you make an effort to elect players from all positions then saying Saberhagen isn't qualified is akin to saying Winfield, Dick Allen, Willie Stargell, Brooks Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Dwight Evans, Roberto Alomar and Rafael Palmeiro are also unqualified.

You picked a rotten example to try to make your point. I have Saberhagen as worthy as Duke Snider, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal. I totally disagree with your first sentence.
   52. cardsfanboy Posted: March 08, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4076787)
He's a throwback type of player (a pitch-to-contact guy who pitches VERY quickly),


I wouldn't be surprised, that by the time he becomes eligible, someone would have released a research project that says that type of pitcher generally has superior defense behind them, and credits the style with the improved defense, maybe giving him some bonus points(or at least a legitimate knock against the absurdity of using fWar to rate pitchers)

I guess it would depend on what and how many comprise the inner-circle. I honestly don't see anyway Unit and Pedro aren't included. I'm sure this has been argued ad-infinitum, but Pedro, despite his shortish career, is on the short list of greatest peak ever and Johnson's upper-tier combination of peak/prime/career is an even easier call.


I can't put Pedro as an inner circle guy, the lack of complete seasons every year just kills it for me. But yes Randy probably belonged in the inner circle tier. Inner circle is combination of great peak and longevity to me. Pedro's peak isn't that much better than Maddux or Randy or Clemens (especially if you define peak as best seasons and not consecutive seasons) and then he doesn't have the career to match up.


Regrettably, despite my insane Stieb fanboyism, I'm forced to agree with this. Unless the Hall is a lot bigger than I think it is, he'd be a marginal inductee - there are certainly worse pitchers currently in, but the bulk of them are either VC "elect my buddy this year, and we'll elect your buddy next year" guys, or weak/quirky selections from the BBWAA.


Stiebs argument is basically a better version of Morris's argument, If you think someone from that era should be in the hof, Stieb is probably the best candidate from the 80's.

Jamie's goal is a personal HoF that is the same size as the current one. The current one is rather large, about half the guys there were put there by one version of a VC or other and half of them had careers that started before 1920.


I look at it, as the hof is rather large, and it's too large by it's obvious mistakes(Jim Rice). Not by it's borderline inclusion of players who arguably don't belong(see Andre Dawson). If I ever had a personal Hall of Fame, it would probably be about 20-30 people smaller than the real HOF and I would then adjust from there. Hard part would be arguing whether or not to include closers.

I absolutely agree with Ray's post in post 50.
   53. DL from MN Posted: March 08, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4076802)
Stieb is probably the best candidate from the 80's.


Stieb isn't bad but I like Saberhagen better.
   54. cardsfanboy Posted: March 08, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4076825)
If Saberhagen isn't qualified then neither are pitchers Koufax, Sutton, Rube Foster (as a player), Gossage, Pud Galvin, Eppa Rixey, Rube Waddell, Clark Griffith, Early Wynn and Al Spalding.


Not sure Koufax really belongs on that list. Koufax has at least two seasons superior's to Saberhagens best, or 5 seasons better than Saberhagens second best. Koufax is the definition of peak candidate, Saberhagen is a very good pitcher.
   55. cardsfanboy Posted: March 08, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4076836)
Stieb isn't bad but I like Saberhagen better.


I don't see it, similar best seasons, but Stieb has more complete seasons(6 seasons with over 200ip and 130 era+ 4 of which were over 260ip ) vs Saberhagen only 4 times(counting a 196ip season as 200ip season, 2 of which were over 257ip)

Saberhagen has a slightly higher best season(not by that much) while Stieb more than beats Saberhagen with number of good seasons.
   56. DL from MN Posted: March 08, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4076854)
Yeah, I don't really care about peak.
   57. Booey Posted: March 08, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4076872)
Stieb is probably the best candidate from the 80's.

Stieb isn't bad but I like Saberhagen better.



I don't see either of them as being quite worthy. And I don't think you necessarily have to induct the best of a weak era by default. There are plenty of HOF pitchers who pitched through most of the 80's. Just because they had most of their peak years in the 70's doesn't mean they shouldn't count as being HOF pitchers of the latter decade as well.
   58. DL from MN Posted: March 08, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4076918)
The reasons I like Saberhagen have nothing to do with him being the best of an arbitrary timespan.
   59. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 08, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4076936)
Saberhagen is all peak; there's no real breadth to his career. 2500 innings of a 126 ERA+ is not enough. He either needed more innings (say, three more seasons at that level) or he needed his peak to be higher.

He's not a horrible candidate, and he's close, but he doesn't quite measure up. Requiring another 600 innings out of him may not seem like much, but that's what these things turn on. It's what separates great players from very good ones; the great ones were able to get there and provide the value. Someone who didn't quite produce that value shouldn't be rewarded as if he had.
   60. DL from MN Posted: March 08, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4076963)
126 ERA+ is really high for the 1980s. Remember that standard deviations were lower than in the 1990s. 3100 innings at a 126 ERA+ in that era would be better than Kevin Brown or Ferguson Jenkins career.
   61. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 08, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4076985)
But if the 1980s were a weak era for pitchers, so be it. I don't see the need to "correct" for that.
   62. DL from MN Posted: March 08, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4077000)
It's not about a weak era for pitching, it's about run scoring and standard deviations in performance being low. When run scoring is low it is much harder to post a high ERA+ number. When standard deviations are low it is harder to find someone significantly above average.
   63. Ron J Posted: March 08, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4077003)
If Saberhagen isn't qualified then neither are pitchers Koufax


Yes, Saberhagen pitched more innings and pitched almost as well during those innings. But Koufax's career totals are irrelevant to his case. He's a pure peak (with a side order of "if only") candidate.

God knows I've argued often enough that Koufax's peak is generally overrated, but that doesn't mean it wasn't hugely impressive (Top 15 rather than top 5 -- at least by adjusted pitching wins, which probably under-values Koufax's huge workloads in his best years). By the definition of best 5 years, you get an ERA+ of 167 in 1377 innings. Take Saberhagen's best 1377 innings and you get an ERA+ of around 145. Yeah it's plausible that Saberhagen was better in what's left over of their respective careers. What of it? It's got zip to do with Koufax's case. And a HOF case that boils down to my mediocre years were better than Koufax's is lame at best.

Sutton? a more interesting argument. Saberhagen has a better peak than Sutton, but Sutton has an unimpressive peak by the standards of HOF pitcher (so for that matter does Saberhagen. Neither are particularly close to the top 50 and you probably need a peak that's around top 20 to be of interest)

Now we both know that Sutton was in the day he picked up win 300 and that the writers didn't do any more analysis than that (yes, I also know he took a few years to get in. It's not like his case changed in the intervening years)

Extended prime? Depends where you set the line. The first thing I like to do is count years with 5+ WAR. Plus for Saberhagen. But Sutton's got all of those 4-5 WAR seasons and an awful lot of good years. He doesn't happen to meet my HOF definition, but then neither does Saberhagen.

Of course Al Spalding doesn't qualify as a pitcher. He's in the HOF as a pioneer and that's fair enough.



   64. tfbg9 Posted: March 08, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4077025)
Does anybody have a way of converting the ERA+ numbers in post 8 into RA+ (Runs Against+) figures instead? Or a linky to a way of looking it up?
   65. SoSH U at work Posted: March 08, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4077035)
Now we both know that Sutton was in the day he picked up win 300 and that the writers didn't do any more analysis than that (yes, I also know he took a few years to get in. It's not like his case changed in the intervening years)


That's an interesting question, but I'm not positive it's true. If Sutton earliwinned it to the finish line, instead of getting a quarter of the way to 400, I think he'd have had a really tough struggle to get elected by the BBWAA. He probably still makes it, but I can see him lasting double digits on the ballot before enshrinement.
   66. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 08, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4077061)
When run scoring is low it is much harder to post a high ERA+ number.


People keep saying this, but I've not seen any evidence for it.
   67. Ron J Posted: March 08, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4077142)
#66 As run scoring expands the standard deviation of runs allowed should go up (pretty much has to).

That said, I think people generally overstate the impact of this.

The standard deviation should rise as the number of teams go up (with a spike in an expansion year) but it should be facing a gradual downward trend as the supply of players grows larger. That's the theory at any rate and I recall seeing a study that backed this in general. Blanking on who did it though.

EDIT: I'm playing with a simple-minded sim. Seems to back up my general notion. Not that it proves anything. GIGO and all that and as I say, simple-minded.
   68. Mike Emeigh Posted: March 08, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4077159)
As run scoring expands the standard deviation of runs allowed should go up (pretty much has to).


Yes, because the distribution has a lower bound but no upper bound. If the distribution were unbounded on both ends (i.e. if you could score negative runs) that wouldn't necessarily be the case.

Here's a thread from '09 where we talked about run scoring distributions.

-- MWE
   69. Jittery McFrog Posted: March 08, 2012 at 06:12 PM (#4077188)
Blanking on who did it though.


DanR ran regressions of Std Dev against things like run scoring environment, expansion year, etc. when constructing his version of WAR. I recall that for hitters the coefficient for run scoring environment was positive (meaning high OPS+ tended to be easier to achieve in higher run scoring environments). I don't recall seeing the equation for pitchers and can't seem to find it right now.
   70. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 08, 2012 at 06:19 PM (#4077193)
Yes, because the distribution has a lower bound but no upper bound.


But no pitchers are approaching the lower bound, so - while I agree the concept applies - I think the effect of this is overstated.
   71. OCF Posted: March 08, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4077249)
Look at a bunch of seasons centered around 1905-1910, when run scoring was very low. Look for what the top single-season ERA+ look like. And look at how many 180+ ERA+ seasons there are by guys not named Johnson, Mathewson, or Brown.

Now try the 1930's, when run scoring was very high. OK, there was Lefty Grove. Take Grove away. What do the top seasons by people not named Grove look like in ERA+

The heart of Koufax's career, and Gibson's great 1968 came in very low run scoring times.

All of that makes me think that high ERA+ (RA+) is easier in low scoring times, not high scoring times.

What has happened since 1990 has a different cause. Look at the IP/season and IP/game.
   72. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 08, 2012 at 08:01 PM (#4077250)
I can't put Pedro as an inner circle guy, the lack of complete seasons every year just kills it for me.

You can say this a hundred more times, and it still doesn't change Pedro Martinez's frequent top 10 appearances on the innings pitched list.

1994-- 6th in IP
1995-- 3rd
1996-- 10th place 225 IP, Martinez 217
1997-- 4th
1998-- 6th
1999-- 8th
2000-- 7th
2001-- missed half the year
2002-- 10th place 217 IP, Martinez 199
2003-- 10th place 213 IP, Martinez 187
2004-- 6th
2005-- 10th place 223 IP, Martinez 217
   73. Morty Causa Posted: March 08, 2012 at 08:21 PM (#4077263)
Well, how does that compare to the stellar stars of other periods? How many times did Lefty Grove, Walter Johnson, Pete Alexander, Seaver, Spahn, Feller, Clemens, Maddux, and others place in the top ten?
   74. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 08, 2012 at 08:52 PM (#4077276)
Didn't plough through them all, but here's Clemens:

1986-- 5th
1987-- 2nd
1988-- 3rd
1989-- 4th
1990-- 6th
1991-- 1st
1992-- 6th
1993-- 10th place 233, Clemens 192
1994-- 9th
1995-- missed a month-plus
1996-- 5th
1997-- 1st
1998-- 3rd
1999-- 10th place 210, Clemens 188
2000-- 10th place 212, Clemens 204
2001-- 11th (1 inning behind 10th place)
2002-- 10th place 217, Clemens 180
2003-- 11th (1 inning behind 10th place)
2004-- 8th
2005-- 10th place 223, Clemens 211

The point of listing Pedro's year-to-year IP isn't to sell him as the ultimate workhorse, but to debunk the premise that he "missed a month every season."
   75. Jittery McFrog Posted: March 08, 2012 at 09:53 PM (#4077290)
As a quick and dirty stab at this I did the following:

--Took top ten ERA+ finishers for each season, averaged the ten to get a single number for each year. (Like I said, quick and dirty; a better approach would be std deviations or somesuch, but I'm lazy.) Henceforth let's call this Leaderboard_ERA+
--Plot against R per G (Again, quick and dirty; this should depend on a lot of stuff other than R/G, but again I'm lazy)

From this it looks to me like there are two cases, with the transition point around 30 years ago. Prior to that, R/G and Leaderboard_ERA+ look anticorrelated. After that, they look positively correlated. Combining the two eras together produces a mess.

For those curious, here are some plots:
Year by year, R/G and Leaderboard_ERA
Scatterplot, 1900 to 1980
Scatterplot, 1981 to 2011
Scatterplot, 1900 to 2011

Explanations: I dunno. I'd guess expansion and changes in pitcher use have a lot to do with it. I'd be interested to see a proper study.

Note: This is not a proper study. This is recreational and half-assed and quite possibly wrong. Take it with many grains of salt.

EDIT: Just saw OCF's comment; yeah, one could make the case that the change is around 1990. You'd need a better method than this to measure with any sort of precision.

   76. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 08, 2012 at 10:28 PM (#4077303)

An interesting question to add is why isn't Brown getting more consideration?

Brown's reputation definitely declined after he signed the contract with the Dodgers and became the highest paid player (or maybe just pitcher) in baseball, yet the Dodgers didn't immediately win the World Series. Or something like that.

After he won the WS with the Marlins in '97 and got the Padres there in '98, it seemed like folks in LA had completely unrealistic expectations. I would say Brown basically lived up to the contract he signed, but he was always perceived as a disappointment and, like A-Rod, this caused him to be underrated by the mainstream media.
   77. cardsfanboy Posted: March 08, 2012 at 11:13 PM (#4077313)
You can say this a hundred more times, and it still doesn't change Pedro Martinez's frequent top 10 appearances on the innings pitched list.


And I don't care where he ranks, missing 3-5 starts a year kills it for me, regardless of the raw innings pitched.
   78. cardsfanboy Posted: March 08, 2012 at 11:23 PM (#4077319)
1994-- 6th in IP
1995-- 3rd
1996-- 10th place 225 IP, Martinez 217
1997-- 4th
1998-- 6th
1999-- 8th
2000-- 7th
2001-- missed half the year
2002-- 10th place 217 IP, Martinez 199
2003-- 10th place 213 IP, Martinez 187
2004-- 6th
2005-- 10th place 223 IP, Martinez 217


1994 24(2 fewer starts than league leader)
1995 30(1 fewer than league leader)
1996 33(3 fewer than league leader)
1997 31(4 fewer than league leader)
1998 33(3 fewer than league leader)
1999 31(4 fewer than league leader)
2000 35(6 fewer than league leader)
2001 lost season
2002 30(6 fewer than league leader)
2003 29(7 fewer than league leader)
2004 33(2 fewer than league leader)
2005 31(4 fewer than league leader)

So yes, I feel pretty confident knowing that going into the season with Pedro as your ace, that your ace is going to miss 3-4 or so starts a year. Fantastic great pitcher, not an inner circle guy like Maddux, Clemens or Randy.
   79. tfbg9 Posted: March 09, 2012 at 12:00 AM (#4077331)
But if you penalize him on that, you gotta give him a little back for having superior rate stats over Roger, Randy, and Greg.

In fact, he has the best rate stats of maybe anybody. That makes him Inner Circle in my book.




   80. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 09, 2012 at 12:27 AM (#4077335)
I can't put Pedro as an inner circle guy, the lack of complete seasons every year just kills it for me.

You can say this a hundred more times, and it still doesn't change Pedro Martinez's frequent top 10 appearances on the innings pitched list.


Cardsfanboy has been educated on this point before, but it's hard for some people to overcome their biases.
   81. Cooper Nielson Posted: March 09, 2012 at 12:28 AM (#4077336)
Isn't an argument about whether Pedro is an "Inner Circle" guy simply an argument about how big the "Inner Circle" is?

Almost everyone would agree that his overall career was a shade below Clemens' and Maddux's and probably Johnson's. But almost everyone would also agree that he is a slam-dunk, first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. If your Inner Circle contains 25 pitchers, he's gotta be in it. If it contains 5 pitchers, he's probably not.
   82. DanG Posted: March 09, 2012 at 12:34 AM (#4077337)
126 ERA+ is really high for the 1980s
Top ERA+ in Saberhagen's prime, 1985-94, minimum 25 pitching WAR

Rk            Player ERAPitchW  WAR     IP   Age   W   L
1      Roger Clemens  152  38.07 63.7 2260.0 22
-31 163  89
2       Kevin Appier  140  14.06 27.3 1017.0 21
-26  66  44
3        Greg Maddux  130  20.01 39.5 1911.0 20
-28 131  91
4    Bret Saberhagen  129  21.77 45.4 1917.0 21
-30 124  83
5          Jose Rijo  127  15.37 31.0 1654.2 20
-29 104  75
6          Jimmy Key  126  20.65 38.3 2038.1 24
-33 147  86
7         David Cone  124  14.45 33.4 1692.2 23
-31 111  70
8        Frank Viola  120  17.14 41.8 2198.0 25
-34 146 109
9     Orel Hershiser  119  13.02 38.5 1958.1 26
-35 123  94
10      Chuck Finley  118  11.83 30.5 1633.1 23
-31  99  86 

Next decade 1995-2004

Rk           Player ERAPitchW  WAR     IP   Age   W  L
1    Pedro Martinez  174  44.97 63.4 2036.1 23
-32 161 65
2     Randy Johnson  172  45.02 63.6 2122.2 31
-40 165 66
3       Greg Maddux  150  37.63 50.0 2270.1 29
-38 174 83
4       Kevin Brown  150  31.14 49.0 1904.1 30
-39 129 73
5       John Smoltz  145  20.53 30.4 1341.2 28
-37  85 46
6    Curt Schilling  140  31.86 52.3 2123.2 28
-37 148 86
7        Tim Hudson  136  16.09 28.9 1240.2 23
-28  92 39
8     Roger Clemens  134  27.70 51.9 2099.2 32
-41 156 71
9       Tom Glavine  129  24.84 40.3 2218.0 29
-38 154 96
10     Mike Mussina  124  21.96 47.5 2160.2 26
-35 159 98 
   83. tshipman Posted: March 09, 2012 at 12:51 AM (#4077342)
But no pitchers are approaching the lower bound, so - while I agree the concept applies - I think the effect of this is overstated.


Pitchers approach the lower bound all the time--you can't give up -1 runs over 7 innings.

A perfect game with 27 strikeouts counts exactly the same towards your ERA as a 10 hitter.

   84. Lassus Posted: March 09, 2012 at 12:57 AM (#4077344)
1994 24(2 fewer starts than league leader)
1995 30(1 fewer than league leader)
1996 33(3 fewer than league leader)
1997 31(4 fewer than league leader)
1998 33(3 fewer than league leader)
1999 31(4 fewer than league leader)
2000 35(6 fewer than league leader)
2001 lost season
2002 30(6 fewer than league leader)
2003 29(7 fewer than league leader)
2004 33(2 fewer than league leader)
2005 31(4 fewer than league leader)


I'm more curious what the league average was these years, rather than the league leader.
   85. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 09, 2012 at 12:58 AM (#4077345)
Pitchers approach the lower bound all the time--you can't give up -1 runs over 7 innings.


I was talking about lower bound for the season, not for a single game.

A perfect game with 27 strikeouts counts exactly the same towards your ERA as a 10 hitter.


Thanks. I didn't know that a perfect game has exactly the same effect on your ERA as a shutout.
   86. tshipman Posted: March 09, 2012 at 01:07 AM (#4077347)
I was talking about lower bound for the season, not for a single game.


Do you really not get how the concepts are related?

The point is that since Stieb cannot give up fewer than 0 runs in a start, it's harder to tell the difference between him and another pitcher who also gave up 0 runs in their start, despite pitching worse.
   87. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 09, 2012 at 01:39 AM (#4077349)
Re: #78--
In those eleven seasons, Martinez was 42 starts behind the rotating cast of league leaders. In the eleven years from 1986 to 1996, Roger Clemens was 40 starts behind.
   88. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 09, 2012 at 02:07 AM (#4077351)

Almost everyone would agree that his overall career was a shade below Clemens' and Maddux's and probably Johnson's. But almost everyone would also agree that he is a slam-dunk, first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. If your Inner Circle contains 25 pitchers, he's gotta be in it. If it contains 5 pitchers, he's probably not.


This. Pedro was more durable than most people give him credit for, but he was not as durable as those three. Clemens has eight seasons with more IP than Pedro's personal best; Maddux has seven plus two strike-shortened seasons in which he led the league; Johnson has seven.

The bigger issue with Pedro, however, is that he's 40 years old and he hasn't pitched in the majors for two years now. At age 40, Clemens still had a Cy Young Award and three All-Star appearances left in him, Maddux still had three more seasons as a league average starter, and Randy Johnson led the league in K's and ERA+ in 260 innings. And once again, that's three years *after* the last season in which Pedro threw a major league pitch.

None of this is to say that Pedro isn't an inner-circle Hall of Famer. He is, and part of that is the quality of his performance was good enough to overcome some of what he lacks in career length and durability.
   89. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 09, 2012 at 02:22 AM (#4077352)
If you're going by starts über alles, Gregory Maddux is your man. From 1988 to 2008, a 21-year stretch, he had just 22 fewer games started than all of the league leaders' totals combined. Of course, it helps when 7 of those 21 are you.

In the other 14 seasons, Maddux had 3 starts less than the NL-leading total once, was 2 behind six times, and had one start fewer seven times. The off year was 1995, when the slacker went 19-2 with a 1.63 ERA; he led the league in innings pitched despite "missing" those three starts.
   90. Sunday silence Posted: March 09, 2012 at 02:33 AM (#4077353)
The point is that since Stieb cannot give up fewer than 0 runs in a start, it's harder to tell the difference between him and another pitcher who also gave up 0 runs in their start, despite pitching worse.


this is actually a pretty solid pt and might bear some repeating. While my first reaction is to say, "How the hell can he pitch worse when both gave up no runs!" It could certainly happen, and especially if the era is filled with no decisions. One can leave the game w/ 2 runners on and one out and the other leave the game an inning later with 2 out no one on..

I.e. as I see it, in a low scoring environment, the statistical difference between two pitchers could start to approach zero even though in fact there might be a real discernible difference in their ability. I think its easier to think about in terms of a large data set, e.g. a season long statistic instead of "leaving the game with 2 on."

But I would certainly like to see what trends any given pitching era might have in terms of both no decisions, and innings pitched. I think the ability to eat innings is somewhat undervalued, judging by the disucssions I've come across on various threads here. I havent done a systematic look at BTF's hall of merit or anything like that though.

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