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Friday, September 11, 2020

What would a 3rd Cy do for Jacob deGrom’s HOF bid?

Perhaps a little more interesting than wondering if he can win a third straight Cy (sure!) or if he will (maybe!) is what will happen if he does. Only 10 pitchers in Major League history have won a Cy three different times.

7—Roger Clemens
5—Randy Johnson
4—Steve Carlton
4—Greg Maddux
3—Sandy Koufax
3—Jim Palmer
3—Clayton Kershaw
3—Pedro Martínez
3—Max Scherzer
3—Tom Seaver

Of those 10 pitchers, seven are in the Hall of Fame, and every single one of them (Johnson, Carlton, Maddux, Koufax, Palmer, Martínez, and Seaver) are inner-circle types who were elected on the first ballot. Two others (Kershaw, Scherzer) are still pitching, and are all but guaranteed to be in Cooperstown someday. Clemens is clearly deserving based on his stats alone, though we hardly need to explain why he hasn’t yet received the necessary votes.

Two Cy Youngs don’t guarantee you a plaque in Cooperstown. Tim Lincecum won’t get in, and Denny McLain, Bret Saberhagen and Johan Santana didn’t either. But three? Not to mention three in a row, which only Maddux (1992-95) and Johnson (1999-02) have managed on their way to four straight? That would seem to be a slam dunk. Welcome to history, Mr. deGrom (if he wins this year’s Cy).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2020 at 09:00 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: jacob degrom

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   1. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 11, 2020 at 11:20 AM (#5975744)

I think an additional CYA can't hurt, but...

1. I don't think writers will look at the awards this year the same way they have in prior years. It will be more like he has 2.5 CYAs, not 3 (plus a ROY).

2. Either way, individual awards will only get you so far if you don't have the career numbers to go along with them. deGrom will still need to add a fair amount to his career in order to make the HOF. Scherzer has 1,200 innings and 25 WAR (and 105 Wins) over deGrom and is only 3 years older. I don't think he's a bad comp since the 3 CYAs probably do enhance his case, but those numbers show that deGrom has a ways to go. (Kershaw isn't a great comp because he'd be a HOFer even without the 3 awards).

deGrom got a late start to his career so he was always a longshot to make the HOF, even moreso than most pitchers, and this shortened season doesn't help him. But that's ok. As a Mets fan, and as a baseball fan in general, I'm happy to enjoy his greatness and let other people worry about the awards.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2020 at 11:29 AM (#5975745)

1. I don't think writers will look at the awards this year the same way they have in prior years. It will be more like he has 2.5 CYAs, not 3 (plus a ROY).


I think that would be true it if it was some flukey pitcher who was tops this year, but we know deGrom is great. I don't think this third Cy Young will be considered lesser (did people discount awards in 1981?)
   3. Booey Posted: September 11, 2020 at 11:36 AM (#5975747)
#2 - Even the 1981 season was about 50 games longer than this one. There are no comparables to this year in modern MLB history.

Edit: That said, I think you're correct that established stars winning the awards will be seen as more "legitimate" than if some rando won with a hot 60 game stretch and never approached that level in a complete season before or since.
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 11, 2020 at 11:39 AM (#5975748)
Did any of those pitchers post a 6-58 W/L record over their 3 CYA seasons?
   5. Booey Posted: September 11, 2020 at 11:59 AM (#5975750)
And yeah, as for the HOF, the awards would go a long way towards pushing marginal candidates over the edge, but you still need to get your career numbers/value into the borderline range before it's even going to matter. Lincecum still doesn't sniff the HOF if you upgrade one of his decent years into a 3rd CY season.

Saying it would seem to be a "slam dunk" case because it was for the other 2 guys who won 3 in a row is silly. Maddux and Johnson added JUST A LITTLE BIT more to their careers than that...

   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 11, 2020 at 12:19 PM (#5975755)
He's well over 1000 IP away from even being in the conversation. The short career HoF guys have 2500 IP. He's at 1150.

Even sabremetrically he's 25 WAR from being serious.
   7. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 11, 2020 at 12:59 PM (#5975761)
His inability to pitch to the score will hurt him with some voters.
   8. Darren Posted: September 11, 2020 at 01:03 PM (#5975764)
So weird to see a possible 3 Cy Young winner, with a total of what, 27 wins in those 3 years? Even if it were a full season, he'd be around 35 or so. If he'd been around 20 years ago, he probably has zero CYs.


His HOF case will be a big test, if gets his WAR up around 70, and ends up at around 150 wins.
   9. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 11, 2020 at 01:06 PM (#5975766)
As noted, it's the late start that kills him. Koufax won three CYYs, but he also led the league in ERA five times in a row and was widely considered to live on a different planet than everyone else. Given that deGrom didn't pitch in MLB until he was 26, I think he'd need to be Koufaxian, in something more than number of CYY awards, to get into the hall. (Also worth noting: deGrom is already older than Koufax was when he retired. He's running out of time.)
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2020 at 01:10 PM (#5975769)
I guess I didn't follow deGrom until he was a big name, why did he get started so late in the big leagues?
   11. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 11, 2020 at 01:16 PM (#5975770)
just looking over his b-r page:

drafted out of college but sent to rookie ball at 22 (where he was unexciting)
lost the following year, presumably to injury
In 2012 he was good in A ball, but 24 years old. Had he struggled there I imagine that would have been in for him.
The Mets promoted him aggressively the following year, even though he wasn't really all that good at AA or AAA. And of course was excellent as soon as he got to the big leagues. He just looks like a late bloomer to me.
   12. JJ1986 Posted: September 11, 2020 at 01:23 PM (#5975772)
deGrom was old when he was drafted and had Tommy John surgery in the minors.
   13. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: September 11, 2020 at 01:36 PM (#5975775)
I would consider Santana for the HOF. Yes, he had a short career, but it was due to injury following 6-7 years of excellence. Whereas Lincecum burned hot for 2-3 years, and later had 4-5 years of ineffectiveness.

I haven't really thought about Saberhagen - he had more bWAR (58 - 51) and much more volume than Santana (2500IP of 126 ERA+ vs 2000 IP of 136 ERA+), but wasn't as dominant at his peak. I remember the "even/odd" thing with him, but even in his "off" years he was above average.
   14. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: September 11, 2020 at 01:43 PM (#5975779)
Not sure it would make a difference. Russlan already thinks DeGrom is daBomb ... what is left to accomplish after that?
   15. DCA Posted: September 11, 2020 at 01:55 PM (#5975781)
Curious, I looked at what careers Maddux and Johnson would have had, subtracting their runs of 4 consecutive CY's.

Maddux ... 4062 IP, 122 ERA+. Best comps are Mussina or Feller with a bit more bulk. Clear HOF though not inner circle.

Unit ... 3105 IP, 123 ERA+. A clear tick above the Stieb/Cone/Hudson cluster, a clear tick below the Marichal/Drysdale/Smoltz cluster. Best comp probably Dazzy Vance. Likely HOF but not at all a sure thing, would depend on narrative.
   16. Adam Starblind Posted: September 11, 2020 at 02:23 PM (#5975789)
Curious, I looked at what careers Maddux and Johnson would have had, subtracting their runs of 4 consecutive CY's.

Maddux ... 4062 IP, 122 ERA+. Best comps are Mussina or Feller with a bit more bulk. Clear HOF though not inner circle.

Unit ... 3105 IP, 123 ERA+. A clear tick above the Stieb/Cone/Hudson cluster, a clear tick below the Marichal/Drysdale/Smoltz cluster. Best comp probably Dazzy Vance. Likely HOF but not at all a sure thing, would depend on narrative.


Similarly, if my Aunt had a dickandballs, she would be my uncle. ;-)
   17. RJ in TO Posted: September 11, 2020 at 02:33 PM (#5975792)
Unit ... 3105 IP, 123 ERA+. A clear tick above the Stieb/Cone/Hudson cluster, a clear tick below the Marichal/Drysdale/Smoltz cluster. Best comp probably Dazzy Vance. Likely HOF but not at all a sure thing, would depend on narrative.
Subtracting those seasons still leaves him with a Cy Young, 2 20 wins seasons, 5 strikeout crowns, and a 222-139 W/L record. For comparison, Justin Verlander has 2 Cy Youngs, 2 20 win seasons, 5 strikeout crowns, and a 226-129 W/L record.

It seems likely Johnson would still be able to find his way into the Hall.
   18. TomH Posted: September 11, 2020 at 03:08 PM (#5975806)
Ya know, maybe when deGrom gets over 100 wins, we could have this conversation. That might happen in May of 2023.

Would a position player with 3 MVPs but only 600 career R or RBI, or 999 hits, go in the Hall? Nope.
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2020 at 03:20 PM (#5975812)
Let's look at this a different way. How many consecutive Cy Youngs would guarantee him election. Would five in a row do it, even if he only got to, say, 120 wins in his career?

   20. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 11, 2020 at 04:01 PM (#5975818)
deGrom was a late bloomer because he didn’t start pitching until his junior year of college. He was a shortstop up to that point.

And then of course there was the TJ surgery in the minors.
   21. Adam Starblind Posted: September 11, 2020 at 04:05 PM (#5975820)
It's worth mentioning that deGrom has six years and change of service time. So no, three 3 Cy Youngs will not make him a Hall of Famer.
   22. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: September 11, 2020 at 06:26 PM (#5975837)
I had no idea deGrom had 35 WAR. His 69 wins are, obviously, the lowest of anybody with that many WAR; Mariano is the only other pitcher under 100, with 82. (Among starters, Chris Sale is third with 109 wins...and 45 WAR!)

There have been 42 pitchers between 33-37 WAR; average number of wins in this group: 144.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: September 11, 2020 at 07:46 PM (#5975852)
Would a position player with 3 MVPs but only 600 career R or RBI, or 999 hits, go in the Hall? Nope.

Campanella barely passed the R threshold, unimpressive RBI total, <5000 PA, <1200 H. Very much a special case but it can be done.

To qualify for the Koufax/Campy wing, you need a sudden end that was beyond your control ... or war credit, NeL credit, etc. And probably need it early enough the voters will fill in the rest, likely at a level the player would not have obtained. It helped Puckett, it wasn't enough to get Munson over the line. Anyway, if DeGrom were to win, say, 5 straight then have his arm fall off, that might be enough in real HoF land ... but probably not because he won't have 10 seasons and I'm not sure they'd love that enough to waive that rule for him (unless he actually died).

The current short-career comp is Halladay who got in comfortably, possibly helped by his early death but he'd have made it without too much trouble anyway methinks. That was 2750 IP, 203 wins, "just" 2 CYA but a 6-year run in the top 5 (3.5 CYA shares, 11th all-time but that list is heavily biased towards modern pitchers). That 6 year run, his other CYA season and his next 3-best seasons probably would have been enough -- that's 2300 of his 2700 innings because he had little trouble dropping 220-250 innings in a season. Modern pitchers will have to pitch 12 full, so probably 13-14 total, seasons to get to 2300-2400 innnings even. On the other hand, without those extra innings, Hallday is short of 2500 IP and 200 wins and looks a bit more like Johan.

That brings us to Pedro. His amazing 7-year run was just 1400 innings ... of 213 ERA+ ... and 118 wins. Good for 57 WAR, 44 WAA, 3 CYA. I hope the BBWAA would have waived the 10-year requiremet if that was all he had. Good as he is, of course deGrom isn't gonna touch that -- his great run so far is "just" 469 IP of 196 ERA+ so another 1,000 innings of that ...

Mistake on my part I'm too lazy to correct ... this is deGrom's 7th season for HoF eligibility purposes. Two more CYA would put him at 9 and they'd waive the 10-year rule in that case so at least he'd get on the ballot and at that point I'd imagine he'd do quite well.

Finally there's Rivera. I don't epect voters to ever make such a connection but I think the best argument for his induction is that his career is 1300 innings of 202 ERA+ which looks an awful lot like Pedro's amazing 7-year run, at least superficially. I am a firm believer that relievers get a substantial boost to their ERA by going one inning, not facing batter multiple times, etc. but still it might well be the equivalent of 1300 innings of 170-180 ERA+ (my manipulation of WAR suggests about 177) with a WAR around 46. I wouldn't consider Pedro's or Koufax's amazing runs to be the minimum peak-only criteria for the HoF and 1300 IP of 175 ERA+ seems like it should at least be in the ballpark. Another 800 innings around a 165 ERA+ (easy, no?) would put deGrom there ... maybe ... 7 seasons of 6.5 WAR probably wouldn't cut it for me among position players (would you put Betts in right now?)

Back to Halladay, he pretty clearly deserved at least one other high CYA finish. In 2002 (age 25) he went 19-7 in a league-leading 239 IP, 2.93 ERA, 157 ERA+, 7.3 WAR. It's his only 200+ IP season without a top 5 finish (that sounds impressive). Zito won it that year with 23 wins, 7.2 WAR, 229 IP, 158 ERA+ ... other than wins, almost identical to Halladay. It was a close vote with Pedro just 18 points behind on 199 innings of 202 ERA+, 20-4 and 6.5 WAR. 3rd place went to the deserving Derek Lowe with 220 IP, 177 ERA+, 7.2 WAR and 21-8. What a year!! It's 4th place finisher Jarrod Washburn at 18-6, 206 IP, 141 ERA+, 4.5 WAR who should be replaced by Halladay ... but that's as random as it gets -- nearly all the ballots were those 3 guys for the 3 slots and Washburn got a single 3rd place vote.

So Halladay had a CYA-worthy season that was probably no better than the 4th-best in the AL that year (or arbuably barely the best by WAR).
   24. Walt Davis Posted: September 11, 2020 at 07:51 PM (#5975854)
Ugh, yet more ... I do think peak value for SPs will rule in future HoF. It doesn't look like voters will have much choice becasue it sure looks like the days of 4000 IP and 300 wins, 250 IP seasons, 20 win seasons are all pretty well behind us. You never know, pticher usage is always changing and MLB could push for greater roster restrictions or other changes that makes the shift to relievers less attractive. But if nobody is gonna meet career standards then guys who were _dominant_ for "long" stretches are the "great" pitchers even if their arm fell off at that point. Scherzer is a lock already.

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