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Thursday, January 30, 2003

The Hoyt Scale Re-Revisited

The Futility Infielder tackles the modern reliever.

Relief pitchers are the most underrepresented position in the Hall of
Fame. Thus far, voters have deemed only two of them, Hoyt Wilhelm and
Rollie Fingers, worthy of admission to Cooperstown. This year’s
ballot contained three reasonable candidates—Rich Gossage, Lee
Smith and Bruce Sutter—none of whom came close to the 75%
necessary for election.

There’s no shortage of reasons for why these firemen are getting closed out:

o Unlike all of the other positions, we have a very tough time
measuring the current candidates against those enshrined; a class of
two doesn’t exactly make a strong sample size or produce de
facto
standards for admission. Wilhelm is widely acknowledged as
the greatest reliever ever, while Fingers simply had visibility and
popularity—in the form of several successful postseason
appearances, a couple of big awards, and a distinctive moustache—
on his side.

o The tools which are readily at our disposal—wins, losses, and
especially saves—do a less than ideal job for measuring the
reliever’s impact. This is especially true when comparing pitchers
between different eras; Jeff Reardon has over 50% more saves than
Hoyt Wilhelm, but anybody who wants to argue that Reardon was as
valuable as Wilhelm has an uphill battle ahead.

o The tools which do a better job at helping us measure a reliever’s
impact, such as Baseball Prospectus’ HREF="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/current/rrereport02.html">Adju
sted Runs Prevented
or Tangotiger’s HREF="http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/articles/tangotigre_2002-12-16_0.s
html">Leverage Index
, are relatively recent developments based on
play-by-play or situational data and thus unavailable for the larger
chunk of the game’s history.

o As Mike’s Baseball
Rants
continues to explore, the role of the reliever has been in
a nearly constant state of evolution across baseball history. Several
pitchers are often identified as paradigm of the “modern” reliever
based upon their pattern of usage, including Wilhelm, Sutter, and
Dennis Eckersley.

o Finally, most baseball fans, whether knowledgeable statheads or
simply men on barstools (not that the two are exclusive, and that’ll
be another round for me, thanks), intuitively grasp that while relief
pitching is an important part of the game, the impact of an ace
reliever isn’t on par with that of an ace starter or All-Star
position player. Several measures of player value—both sabermetric
and economic—bear that out.

All of this combines to make a reliever’s road to the Hall of Fame an
uphill one. But that doesn’t eliminate the question of where this
year’s three candidates fit in with respect to the two already in the
Hall, to each other, and other good-to-great relievers who are or
will be eligible for the Hall in the not-too-distant future. With
Eckersley up for election next year, and a generation of save-happy
closers on the horizon (Smith, the career leader, has already
arrived), it’s worth looking at different ways to compare them.

Last year Baseball Primer’s HREF="http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/clutch/archives/00001105.shtml">Rich Rifkin introduced a measure designed to judge relief pitchers
based on a combination of innings pitched and on ERA+ (which is
park-adjusted ERA relative to the league). The reasoning behind this
is simple: a pitcher’s job is to prevent runs; a good pitcher
prevents runs at a better than league-average rate; the more innings
a pitcher throws at a better-than-average rate, the more valuable he
is.

Based on the widely-agreed notion that Wilhelm was the best ever,
Rifkin called his measure the Hoyt Scale, and created a simple
formula:

(ERA+) + 4*IP/75 = uH (unadjusted Hoyts)

Rifkin then produced a Hoyt Constant such that Wilhelm winds up with
exactly 100 Hoyts, and all other relievers are calculated relative to
the master. By Rich’s calculations, the best relievers after the ol’
knuckleballer were Kent Tekulve and Rich Gossage (84.2), John Franco
(82.8), Dan Quisenberry (81.7), Lee Smith (80.4), Tom Henke (80.2),
Sparky Lyle (81.0), and Rollie Fingers (79.3).

This was a quick-and-dirty attempt at getting a handle on the
relative values of a select group of top-notch relievers, but it
contained a few flaws. First off, Rifkin’s numbers for calculating
the Hoyt Constant were off; for whatever reason he reported Wilhelm’s
total number of innings in relief as 1,890 when it’s in fact 1,870
(still a major league record).

That’s a minor problem, easily correctable. However, a much larger
problem exists. Several pitchers in the group we’re examining,
including Wilhelm, have significant numbers of innings pitched as
starters. Using a pitcher’s total ERA+ and total number of innings
favors anybody who racks up the mileage a starter gets; yet we’re
trying to measure relievers.

While breakdowns between innings pitched and runs allowed as
starter/reliever are not always available, we do have a large amount
of data for the 55 pitchers in my study. Using HREF="http://www.retrosheet.org">Retrosheet and a few instances
where ALL of a pitchers appearances in a single season were starts, I
was able to completely separate the stats as starter and reliever for
18 pitchers. Another 12 obliged me by never starting a single game.
That’s over half of the pitchers in this study for whom I was able to
use exact Relief IP totals and Relief ERA+ to recalculate their
Hoyts. We’ll call all of these pitchers whose stats cooperate with
our mission Group A. Wilhelm himself is included in this group
because if we know his Relief IP, we know his Starting IP. I made an
estimate of his Relief ERA+ which I’ll explain shortly.

Here are the Group A pitchers, sorted by Relief Innings Pitched
(RIP). GSd is the number of games started for which we have data for,
and RERA+ is Relief ERA+. The rest should be familiar (* denotes an
active player):

            G   GS GSd   W   L   Sv   IP   RIP   ERA+  RERA+
H. Wilhelm   1070   52   0   143 122 227 2254.3 1870.0 146   145
K. Tekulve   1050   0   0   94 90 184 1436.3 1436.3 132   132
S. Lyle       899   0   0   99 76 238 1390.3 1390.3 127   127
L. Smith     1022   6   6   71 92 478 1289.3 1252.3 132   143
T. Burgmeier   745   3   3   79 55 102 1258.7 1248.7 119   120
J. Orosco*    1187   4   4   85 78 142 1261.3 1243.0 130   132
B. Stanley     637   85 85   115 97 132 1707.0 1159.0 118   131
J. Franco*    998   0   0   88 76 422 1150.3 1150.3 143   143
J. Reardon     880   0   0   73 77 367 1132.7 1132.7 121   121
D. Jones     846   4   4   69 79 303 1128.3 1112.3 130   130
M. Jackson*    960   7   7   60 67 142 1141.7 1108.0 127   131
G. Minton     710   7   7   59 65 150 1130.7 1089.3 112   121
G. Lavelle     745   3   3   80 77 136 1085.0 1077.7 126   128
D. Quisenberry 674   0   0   56 46 244 1043.3 1043.3 146   146
B. Sutter     661   0   0   68 71 300 1042.3 1042.3 136   136
R. McDowell   723   2   2   70 70 159 1050.0 1039.7 114   115
W. Hernandez   744   11 11   70 63 147 1044.7   994.3 118   124
L. Andersen   699   1   1   40 39   49   995.3   990.7 120   121
S. Bedrosian   732   46 46   76 79 184 1191.0   931.0 114   118
B. Locker     576   0   0   57 39   95   879.0   879.0 122   122
J. Montogomery 700   1   1   46 52 304   868.7   863.7 134   136
D. Eckersley   1071 361 361   197 171 390 3285.7   807.3 116   180
D. Smith     609   1   1   53 53 216   809.3   807.3 130   131
T. Henke     642   0   0   41 42 311   789.7   789.7 156   156
R. Aguilera   732   89 89   86 81 318 1291.3   740.3 117   131
M. Henneman   561   0   0   57 42 193   732.7   732.7 129   129
J. Howell     568   21 21   58 53 155   844.7   731.3 114   127
T. Hoffman*    632   0   0   45 44 352   701.0   701.0 146   146
T. Worrell     617   0   0   50 52 256   693.7   693.7 122   122
J. Wetteland   618   17 17   48 45 330   765.0   683.0 148   165
B. Harvey     322   0   0   17 25 177   387.0   387.0 165   165

Group B consists of pitchers for whom we have
incomplete data on their time as starters. For this group, we have
data on 53% of their total starts. For Goose Gossage, we’ve got 32
out of his 37, for Rollie Fingers only 8 of 37. I went ahead and
removed the known starter stats from their lines, such that we’ve got
Relief IP and Relief ERA+ which still include some starter innings
(which we’ll adjust for down the road). Interestingly enough, every
pitcher in either Group A or Group B had as good or better an ERA+ as
a reliever than as a starter, sometimes dramatically. Here are the
Group B pitchers, sorted again by RIP (keep in mind that this RIP is
not a complete total):

          G GS GSd   W   L   Sv   IP   RIP   ERA+  RERA+
R. Gossage 1002 37 32 124 107 310 1890.3 1659.0   126   139
R. Fingers   944 37   8 114 118 341 1701.3 1656.7   119   122
G. Garber   931   9   1   96 113 218 1510.0 1505.7   117   117
T. McGraw   824 39 15   96 92 180 1514.7 1435.3   116   121
C. Carroll   731 28   9   96 73 143 1353.3 1299.0   120   123
M. Marshall 723 24 19   97 112 188 1386.7 1285.0   118   124
B. Campbell 700   9   7   83 68 126 1229.3 1181.7   111   115
D. Knowles   765   8   2   66 74 143 1092.0 1085.7   112   114
G. Harris   703 98 75   74 90   54 1467.0 1056.0   112   123
J. Hiller   545 43 35   87 76 125 1242.0 1012.0   134   135
T. Forster   614 39 24   54 65 127 1105.7   982.0   115   123
E. Sosa     601   3   2   59 51   83   918.0   908.7   112   113

Group C pitchers are the ones for whom we have no
data on separating Relief IP and Relief ERA+. Five of the eleven are
older pitchers, contemporaries of Wilhelm who spent most of their
careers as relievers. Sorted by total IP:

          G   GS GSd   W   L   Sv   IP   RIP   ERA+  RERA+
L. McDaniel   987 74   0   141 119 172 2139.3   n/a   109   n/a
S. Miller   704 93   0   105 103 154 1694.0   n/a   115   n/a
E. Face     848 27   0   104 95 193 1375.0   n/a   109   n/a
D. McMahon   874   2   0   90 68 153 1310.7   n/a   119   n/a
R. Perranoski 737   1   0   79 74 179 1174.7   n/a   123   n/a
R. Myers     728 12   0   44 63 347   884.7   n/a   122   n/a
R. Hernandez* 696   3   0   48 51 320   775.0   n/a   143   n/a
A. Hrabosky   545   1   0   64 35   97   722.0   n/a   121   n/a
R. Nen*    643   4   0   45 42 314   715.0   n/a   138   n/a
F. Linzy     516   2   0   62 57 111   816.7   n/a   122   n/a
D. Plesac   1006 14   0   63 70 156 1038.7   n/a   116   n/a

Here’s a quick comparison of the three groups:

      G   GS   GSd   W     L   Sv     IP     RIP     ERA+  RERA+
A   23630   721   669   2250   2118   7203   35780.3   31127.3   124   129
B   9773   437   230   1131   1109   2119   17868.0   16516.3   117   121
C   8284   233   0   845   777   2196   12645.7   n/a   119   n/a

In general the trend seems to be that the more data
we have on these pitchers, the better that data reflects on them.
Note the improved RERA+ for the A’s and the B’s.

Back to Wilhelm. Poring over his stats, I became concerned about the
impact his one year as a regular starter (1959, 32 GP, 27 GS, 226 IP,
173 ERA+) had on his overall stats. So I decided to cobble together
an estimate of his Relief ERA+. Knowing his total number of starts
and innings as a starter, I calculated his number of innings pitched
per start (7.39), and then resolved his pitching lines into “starter”
and “relief” innings and earned runs allowed for each year he started
games:

    G GS   IP     SIP   RIP   ER   SER   RER   IP/GR
1958 39 10 131.0   73.9   57.1 34.0 19.2 14.8   1.97
1959 32 27 226.0 199.6   26.4 55.0 48.6   6.4   5.29
1960 41 11 147.0   81.3   65.7 54.0 29.9 24.1   2.19
1961 51   1 109.7   7.4 102.3 28.0   1.9 26.1   2.05
1963 55   3 136.3   22.2 114.2 40.0   6.5 33.5   2.20
              384.3         106.0

Not a bad
estimate; his ERA as a “starter” here is 2.48 compared to his career
ERA of 2.52. But the one thing which troubled me about this was the
last column, the estimated innings pitched per relief appearance. For
1958, this comes out to over 5 innings pitched per appearance. I
decided to rerun the numbers using a higher estimate for that season
(8.0 IP/GS) and a lower estimate for all the others (6.75) based on
the fact that he pitched so many complete games (13) that year:

    G GS   IP   SIP   RIP   ER   SER   RER IP/GR
1958 39 10 131.0   67.3   63.7 34.0 17.5 16.5   2.20
1959 32 27 226.0 216.0   10.0 55.0 52.6   2.4   2.00
1960 41 11 147.0   74.0   73.0 54.0 27.2 26.8   2.43
1961 51   1 109.7   6.7 102.9 28.0   1.7 26.3   2.06
1963 55   3 136.3   20.2 116.1 40.0   5.9 34.1   2.23
        384.3               104.9

My extra
work eliminates only one more run, but it does get his innings
pitched per appearance down to a more uniform range. I then removed
the totals from his line and recalculated his ERA+ as a “reliever”:
145, compared to his overall 146. Not a huge difference in the grand
scheme of things, but enough to satisfy a few nagging doubts I had
about the impact of that 1959 season.

Using Wilhelm’s Relief ERA+ and Relief IP, we can now calculate a new
Hoyt Constant so that the man winds up with an even 100. In Rifkin’s
original study it was .4051 (100/246.8), here it becomes .4086
(100/244.73).

One more hurdle remains: how to avoid overestimating the number of
Hoyts for the Group B and Group C pitchers. I decided to dock them a
small amount for each missing start as a percentage of their total
appearances, settling on the following formula:

Hoyt = G - (1.5*(GSm)/G) * uH * Hc

G is Games, GSm is missing Games Started (the ones we DON’T have data
for), uH is Unadjusted Hoyts, and Hc is the Hoyt Constant. I tested
the factors of 1.0 to 3.0 in increments of 0.5, and 1.5 provided a
good equilibrium; anything more and you penalize the old swingmen too
much, anything less and you reward them too much for piling up
innings as a starter. For what it’s worth, I also ran the
calculations another way, using a very reasonable 6 IP/GS for the
missing Games Started; the results are almost identical.

Anyway, and without further ado, here is new Hoyt list:


          IP   RIP ERA+ RERA+  Hoyt
Wilhelm   2254.3 1870.0 146   145   100.0
Gossage   1809.3 1578.0 126   139   90.5
Smith     1289.3 1252.3 132   143   85.7
Tekulve   1436.3 1436.3 132   132   85.2
Franco     1150.3 1150.3 143   143   83.5
Quisenberry 1043.3 1043.3 146   146   82.4
Wetteland   765.0   683.0 148   165   82.3
Lyle     1390.3 1390.3 127   127   82.2
Fingers   1701.3 1656.7 119   122   82.0
Orosco     1261.3 1243.0 130   132   81.0
Henke     789.7   789.7 156   156   81.0
McDaniel   2139.3   n/a   109   n/a   80.9
Garber     1510.0 1505.7 117   117   79.7
Stanley   1707.0 1159.0 118   131   78.8
Sutter     1042.3 1042.3 136   136   78.3
Marshall   1386.7 1285.0 118   124   77.9
Jackson   1141.7 1108.0 127   131   77.7
Jones     1128.3 1112.3 130   130   77.4
McMahon   1310.7   n/a   119   n/a   76.9
McGraw     1514.7 1435.3 116   121   76.9
Burgmeier   1258.7 1248.7 119   120   76.2
Eckersley   3285.7   807.3 116   143   76.0
Harvey     387.0   387.0 165   165   75.9
Lavelle   1085.0 1077.7 126   128   75.8
Perranoski 1174.7   n/a   123   n/a   75.7
Hiller     1242.0 1012.0 134   135   75.5
Carroll   1353.3 1299.0 120   123   75.5
Hoffman     701.0   701.0 146   146   74.9
Hernandez   775.0   n/a   143   n/a   74.8
Montgomery   868.7   863.7 134   136   74.4
Reardon   1132.7 1132.7 121   121   74.1
Minton     1130.7 1089.3 112   121   73.2
Campbell   1229.3 1181.7 111   115   72.4
WHernandez 1044.7   994.3 118   124   72.3
Nen       715.0   n/a   138   138   71.3
DSmith     809.3   807.3 130   131   71.1
Andersen   995.3   990.7 120   121   71.0
Face     1375.0   n/a   109   n/a   70.9
Harris     1467.0 1056.0 112   123   69.7
Aguilera   1291.3   740.3 117   131   69.7
McDowell   1050.0 1039.7 114   115   69.6
Knowles   1092.0 1085.7 112   114   69.4
Forster   1105.7   982.0 115   123   69.0
Locker     879.0   879.0 122   122   69.0
Henneman   732.7   732.7 129   129   68.7
Plesac     1038.7   n/a   116   n/a   68.6
Bedrosian   1191.0   931.0 114   118   68.5
Howell     844.7   731.3 114   127   67.8
Myers     884.7   n/a   122   n/a   67.4
Miller     1694.0   n/a   115   n/a   67.3
Linzy     816.7   n/a   122   n/a   67.3
Sosa       918.0   908.7 112   113   65.8
Hrabosky   722.0   n/a   121   n/a   65.0
Worrell     693.7   693.7 122   122   65.0
Fisher     1538.7 1530.7 101   101   64.6

Even with
the slight deduction for five missing starts, Gossage clearly leaps
into second place in this study. Smith edges Tekulve for third place
and Franco’s alone in fifth. The next seven pitchers are separated by
a mere 1.5 Hoyts. Rollie Fingers is right in the middle of that pack.
In his original piece, Rifkin used Fingers’ score to define the
cutoff for Hall of Fame relievers. By this measure, Smith, Tekulve,
Franco, Quiz, Wetteland, and Lyle should get the nod, while Orosco,
Henke, McDaniel, Garber, Stanley, Sutter and a whole bunch of others
fall by the wayside.

Intuitively, this isn’t a bad conclusion, but it’s worth remembering
that Fingers’ exact position might be considered somewhat fluid.
We’re missing 29 of his starts, and additional data (say, Retrosheet
splits for 1970, when he started 19 games) could shift his position.
If I’d used a different deduction factor, say 2.0 instead of 1.5 per
missing start, it would have knocked him below Orosco and Henke at
80.7. A deduction factor of 1.0, on the other hand, would slide him
past Quiz, Wetteland, and ol’ Sparky at 83.3. Admittedly, one of the
reasons I settled on 1.5 was because he fit into the middle of this
grouping rather than significantly beyond or behind it.

It’s just as well that we don’t depend too much on Fingers’ exact
position, because as a barometer of what makes a Hall of Fame
reliever, it’s the definition of a slippery slope. But more
importantly, the question is, is the Hoyt Scale alone enough to tell
us who belongs in the Hall and who doesn’t? I don’t claim that it
does. It ignores postseason credentials, awards, and other factors
such as a pitcher’s performance as a starter. But it’s of great help
in pointing us in the right direction, of letting us compare apples
to apples and oranges to oranges.

Let’s remember what the Hoyt Scale does and doesn’t do. The Hoyt is a
measure of career value for relievers based entirely on runs and
innings and the pitcher’s performance relative to the league average.
It doesn’t take into account peak value. It dismisses any performance
a pitcher had as a starter. It ignores the relatively trivial aspect
of the reliever’s W-L record, and somewhat helpfully shades us from
being influenced by save totals. It’s worth noting how the all-time
save leaders rank:

        S   Hoyt rank
Smith     478 85.7   3
Franco   422 83.5   5
Eck     390 76.0 22
Reardon   367 74.1 31
Hoffman   352 74.9 28
Myers     347 67.4 35
Fingers   341 82.0   9
Wetteland 330 78.1   7
RHernandez 320 74.8 29
Aguilera   318 69.7 40
Nen     314 71.3 35
Henke     311 81.0 11
Gossage   310 90.5   2
Montgomery 304 74.4 30
Jones     303 77.4 18
Sutter   300 78.3 15

Most of the more recent closers
don’t fare so well on this list, given their low number of innings
pitched; Wetteland is the exception. On the contrary, the Hoyt
rewards yeomen who racked up quality innings amid little fanfare.
Tekulve, Orosco, McDaniel, Garber, Burgmeier, and Lavelle aren’t
exactly tip-of-the-tongue names when it comes to relief aces, but
those guys were very good for a long time. Not Hall of Famers,
perhaps, but no slouches either.

I should add somewhere in here that among the lower reaches of our
“Top 55 (Guys Whose Hoyts I Bothered to Calculate)” there are
probably pitchers I’ve omitted who would score just as well,
especially among active players and players whose splits I don’t
have. Recent free-agent signing Steve Reed rolls in at a respectable
71.5. Among older pitchers, Ron Reed is around 70. If anyone finds a
pitcher above 75 who’s not active and who’s missing from this list,
let me know and I’ll run the stats. In order to score a 75 on the
Hoyt Scale a pitcher would have to post numbers along the following
lines:

RERA+  RIP
110   1379
120   1192
130   1004
140   817
150   629

And if anyone can provide definitive sources
for relief innings pitched for any of the Group B or C pitchers,
please let me know as well. Somewhere I’m imagining a Top Ten or Top
Twenty list for Most Career Relief Innings exists, and I’d love to
get my hands on it.

 

 

 

Jay Jaffe Posted: January 30, 2003 at 06:00 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Chris Dial Posted: January 30, 2003 at 02:28 AM (#608674)
Very nice work, Jay. Of course, my favorite part is the units.
   2. DanG Posted: January 30, 2003 at 02:29 AM (#608676)
Total Baseball has always had the top 50 in relief innings pitched listed in the back of the book, in the Leaders: Lifetime section. TB7 shows 32 men with over 1000 IP as relievers. Mike Jackson has joined them in the two years since that book came out. Dan Plesac is 30.3 IP short as of now.
   3. DanG Posted: January 30, 2003 at 02:29 AM (#608678)
Total Baseball, Third edition, 1993, has a relief pitcher register included. It includes "all those who made notable contributions from the bullpen", over 200 pitchers. I don't think this was included in any subsequent editions of TB.

It lists: relief W-L record, relief IP and relief ERA, as well TB's own Adjusted Relief Runs and Relief Rank.

Hope this helps.
   4. Marc Stone Posted: January 31, 2003 at 02:29 AM (#608683)
A great effort putting all this data together.

A lot of the pitchers who started fewers than 10 games show differences between ERA+ and RERA+ that are hard to believe when you consider that innings as starting pitchers are only 2-3% of total innings, Lee Smith in particular. You may want to check your numbers again.

Also, a slightly better way to calculate Wilhelm's innings as a starter for each year would be to credit him with 9 innings for each complete game then calculate innings per start for the remaining games started.

A more substantive comment: The Hoyt scale itself is pretty flawed in that if you pitch few innings and allow almost no runs you end up with a very high ERA+ (say 350) that puts you at the top of the scale regardless of the number of innings pitched. Similarly, you can pitch a ton of innings with a low ERA+ and score high on the scale. A better measure: ERA+ times innings pitched
   5. Jay Jaffe Posted: January 31, 2003 at 02:29 AM (#608685)
Thanks for the comments, guys. Marc -- it was not uncommon for me to come across guys who allowed almost a run per inning during their brief time as a starter (or at leas what I have data for via Retrosheet):

Knowles 6.3 IP, 7 ER
Montgomery 5 IP, 5 ER
Sosa 9.3 IP, 8 ER
Lavelle 7.3 IP, 10 ER
Orosco, 18 IP, 13 ER
Mike Jackson, 33.7 IP, 25 ER
Dave Smith, 2 IP, 3 ER

These are enough to knock a few points off their ERAs and subsequently improve their ERA+.

As for Lee Smith, in retracing my steps it appears I transposed two digits:

Lee Smith, 37 IP, 19 ER leaves him with a 134 RERA+, not 143. This leaves him with 82.0 Hoyts -- enough to knock him down into a tie with Fingers, more or less (I don't have my spreadsheet on this computer so I don't know the rounding). Damn it!

Well, that's a drag. Sorry, folks -- score that as E-6 on the Futility Infielder.
   6. Ben Posted: January 31, 2003 at 02:29 AM (#608686)
Great work, but I think there may be a problem with the RERA+ for Eck. On the final ranking list, his RERA+ is listed at 143 with a final adjusted Hoyt score of 76.0, good only for #22 on the list. However, when listed with the Group A pitchers, Eck has an RERA+ of 180, the highest on any of the lists. Recalculating his adjusted Hoyt score using the 180 instead of the 143 and Eck now scores a 91.1, placing him second on the list behind only Hoyt himself. Which is his correct RERA+, 143 or 180? It makes a big difference whether Eck is a Hall of Famer or on the outside looking in...
   7. Jay Jaffe Posted: January 31, 2003 at 02:29 AM (#608689)
Ben -- another (more minor) mistake by the porous defense. The 180 for Eck in the Group A listing is incorrect; the 143 in the rankings IS the correct figure, and Eckersley's placement on the list is where it should be.
   8. Jay Jaffe Posted: January 31, 2003 at 02:29 AM (#608693)
Kirk, I ran a preliminary calculation on the Assmaster when I did the piece for my site; at the time I was trying to get everybody above 70 and some notables just below, but for whatever reason I left him out. I forgot to restore him to the list for this revision, but he's easy enough to calculate. His one start, allowing 4 runs in 1 inning, leaves him with a 119 ERA+ and 854.7 IP, so he comes in with 67.3 Hoyts by my calc. Good enough to make the list, but as I said before, I suspect that there are several pitchers in the lower reaches of the chart who aren't on here. With more research, a more definitive list can be assembled.

Marc, as for your more substantive comment about the high ERA+ in a small number of innings -- your point is well taken, but some discretion is needed. We don't award batting titles to rookies who go 2 for 5 in a cup of coffee, and we don't say that a pitcher with a 1-0 record has the highest lifetime winning percentage.

The Hoyt Scale has a built-in mechanism to reward the number of innings pitched, but it doesn't really work for ridiculously high ERA+ in a small number of innings. Bryan Harvey is the only pitcher on the list with less than 683 innings, and I debated whether or not to include him. If we draw a line at 600 relief innings, he's not on there.

As for Mariano Rivera, I knew he'd score somewhere in the 90s, but I think he's still got a few years ahead of him and probably some decline as well. He may well make the Hall of Fame thanks in part to his excellent work in the postseason, but it's a bit early to start setting his plaque in bronze, so I don't think he belongs on the chart. He's got only 562 RIP, and if we draw a minimum inning line at 600 or 650, he's out. Other active pitchers were included on the list in part because their careers are closer to the end than the beginning (M. Jackson, J. Orosco) and/or because they place high on the all-time Saves list (T. Hoffman, R. Nen, R. Hernandez).
   9. John Posted: January 31, 2003 at 02:29 AM (#608699)
Although I suppose Sutter will have to get there first, given that Sutter has always done better in the voting, and currently sits in the desireable position of being the top votegetter in most recent election who didn't get in - a position from which I assume most players who have attained eventually were enshrined.

Off-topic, but I thought this was interesting, even if it took a couple of read-throughs to digest. So much so, that I set about to make a list. Is it possible that there's not a site with all of the past HOF voting results? Surely not. Someone wants to point to it, that would be just super. At any rate, after trawling around various sites until reaching the frustration point with Google, I've learned that the leading "also ran" has eventually made it from 96 (Niekro), 97 (Sutton), 98 (Perez), 99 (Fisk), 01 (Carter), and 02 (Carter). Rice was the "leader" in 2000.

On-topic, the Hoyt Scale work was really good. This, combined with the work by Tangotiger, helps a ton in ranking the short relievers. As Jay pointed out, though, it doesn't make it any easier to know where to draw the HOF cut-off line. So long as Quisenberry is on the "deserving" side, I'm OK with using Fingers.
   10. DanG Posted: February 01, 2003 at 02:29 AM (#608700)
Like John, I have searched for a website with complete HOF voting and have not found one.

I tried to find a list of relief innings pitched leaders online but did not find one. Now it's on Primer. I copied the list from TB7, updated it through 2002, and added a few more at the bottom from TB4, TB5, and TB6.

The top 57 pitchers in career Relief Innings Pitched through 2002:

1871.0 Hoyt Wilhelm
1694.0 Lindy McDaniel
1556.7 Rich Gossage
1500.3 Rollie Fingers
1452.7 Gene Garber
1436.7 Kent Tekulve
1390.3 Sparky Lyle
1301.3 Tug McGraw
1297.0 Don McMahon
1259.3 Mike Marshall

1252.3 Lee Smith
1248.7 Tom Burgmeier
1243.0 Jesse Orosco
1212.3 Roy Face
1204.7 Clay Carroll
1186.0 Eddie Fisher
1177.3 Bill Campbell
1170.7 Ron Perranoski
1157.0 Bob Stanley
1150.3 John Franco

1132.3 Jeff Reardon
1108.0 Mike Jackson
1097.3 Doug Jones
1094.7 Stu Miller
1087.3 Greg Minton
1077.7 Gary Lavelle
1052.3 Darold Knowles
1043.3 Paul Lindblad
1043.3 Dan Quisenberry
1042.0 Bruce Sutter

1040.7 Johnny Klippstein
1039.7 Roger McDowell
1016.3 Pedro Borbon
994.3 Willie Hernandez
992.7 Bob Miller
990.7 Larry Anderson
976.0 Dave LaRoche
970.0 Ted Abernathy
969.7 Dan Plesac
962.7 John Hiller

931.0 Steve Bedrosian
923.0 Greg Harris
917.0 Eric Plunk
905.0 Elias Sosa
901.3 Dale Murray
889.3 Doug Bair
888.0 Terry Forster
881.7 Craig Lefferts
879.0 Bob Locker
876.0 Dennis Lamp

874.3 Ron Reed
861.0 Jim Brewer
860.0 Aurelio Lopez
859.3 Dick Tidrow
856.3 Dave Giusti
854.0 Clem Labine
849.0 Grant Jackson

Note that some of these differ by a couple IP from the Relief pitcher register in TB3.
   11. Jay Jaffe Posted: February 01, 2003 at 02:29 AM (#608702)
Warren Corbett and DanG -- thanks for all of the data. When I get a chance in the next couple days I'll plug in the actual innings and ERA+ for the n/a guys and rerun the rankings.
   12. eric Posted: February 03, 2003 at 02:29 AM (#608706)
Completing the picture, filling in 1993-95 gives us nothing new, '93 and '95 Niekro was the top non-qualifier, Cepeda was in '94.
   13. DanG Posted: February 04, 2003 at 02:29 AM (#608712)
Sutter has passed the 50% support mark. Every player who ever reached this mark has been enshrined, eventually (except for Hodges). Reaching the 30% mark was usually enough for the old veterans committee to pick you up later.

These are the non hall of famers with the highest one year voting support, whose time on the BBWAA ballot has expired:

Gil Hodges 63.4%, Tony Oliva 47.3%, Roger Maris 43.1%, Ron Santo 43.1%, Maury Wills 40.6%, Marty Marion 40.0%, Harvey Kuenn 39.3%, Hank Gowdy 35.7%, Phil Cavarretta 35.6%, Johnny Sain 34.0%, Allie Reynolds 33.6%, Luis Tiant 30.9%, Johnny Vander Meer 29.8%, Jim Kaat 29.6%, Joe Gordon 28.5%.

Steve Garvey (42.6%) will join this list after four more elections.
   14. Jay Jaffe Posted: February 05, 2003 at 02:29 AM (#608727)
I've updated my Hoyt spreadsheet based on Warren's RIP/RERA data on the older Group C guys, which essentially makes them Group A guys now and clarifies their contributions. In most cases this improved their standing considerably, McDaniel especially. This leads me to believe my "penalty" for starts with missing data was too heavy.

So I'm in something of a quandry regarding the Group B guys. Thanks to DanG's list, we now know their true relief innings, but we don't know their true RERA+. We have a partial RERA+ which is usually better than their overall ERA+, but we don't know that it's accurate. I'd be inclined to just plow ahead with that partial RERA+ and the true RIP for my update, but something in me wants to tinker with the formula a bit, basing the penalty on "missing innings" rather than "missing starts".

I'd have to look over my data again, but my lunch-hour hunch is that the true RERA+ won't be more than about 5-10 points off of what it already is, which translates to 2-4 Hoyts. I'm going to come up with a revised formula that takes that into account, and when I do, I'll run revised rankings.

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