Friday, January 17, 2014

2015 HOF Class: Elite?

Last week ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian wrote a good article about next year’s potential Hall of Fame class. Unlike some writers Kurkjian carefully words his proclamations, not calling a player the greatest ever but instead leaving room for debate. While the column focused on the 2015 candidates, several comments were slanted against two Braves  

Randy Johnson was named one of the ten best pitchers ever, and “by some measures” in the top six. “A strong case can be made” that Johnson is the best left-handed pitcher ever after Lefty Grove. What about Warren Spahn? Spahn won 20 or more games a whopping 13 times, and won 60 more games than Grove or the Big Unit. Considering that Spahn played in Boston, you’d think Kurkjian wouldn’t have left him out. A comparison shows that Johnson only best Spahn in winning percentage and strikeouts. At the very least Tom Glavine deserves to be mentioned.

RJ  22  303 166 .646  3.29 100 4135  4875 1497 190
LG  17  300 141 .680  3.06 298 3940  2266 1187  42
WS  21  363 245 .597 3.09 382 5243  2583 1434  42
TG   22  305 203 .600 3.54   56 4413  2607 1500  66
GM  23  355 227 .610 3.16 109 5008  3371   999 137

Kurkjian calls Johnson the most dominant pitcher of his era. What of Greg Maddux? Depends what “most dominant” means. Maddux dominated with a far lower ERA than other pitchers. Johnson dominated with a wicked slider any all the strikeouts. Johnson hit batters because he was wild (500 more walks than Maddux in 850 fewer innings). Maddux hit batters because he wanted to.

Pedro Martinez: “His 1999 and 2000 seasons might have been the greatest back-to-back years a pitcher has ever had: He went 41-10, struck out 597 and walked 69 in 430.3 innings with an ERA of 1.90; the American League ERA combined for those two seasons was 4.90”. While Martinez was slightly better than Greg Maddux in 99-00, Kurkjian fails to mention Maddux’s even more remarkable 94-95 seasons.

PL..years.…W-L……K.…BB..…IP..…ERA..winning %
PM 99-00…41-10…597…69…430.3…1.90…80.3
GM 99-00…38-18…326…79…468.2…3.26…69.9
GM 94-95…35- 8.…337…54…411.2…1.59…81.4
John Smoltz: “He’s a Hall of Famer. And by a slim margin, he compares to Curt Schilling.” What? Smoltz had a lower ERA, pitched more innings, and was selected to more All Star games. Smoltz won a Cy Young Award, but Schilling didn’t. While Schilling and Smoltz won about the same number of games, Smoltz also saved 154 games. Those achievements place him far ahead of Schilling, and within shouting distance of Pedro.     

“Advanced metrics place him just ahead of Nolan Ryan and just behind Bob Gibson.” Any comparison to Nolan Ryan is a compliment. Ryan, Gibson, Schilling, and Smoltz were four of the most competitive pitchers ever. Ryan piled up strikeouts and no-hitters. Smoltz had all the saves and a lower WHIP than Ryan or Gibson. –…IP…...K….BB…
CS..0…4…6..216-146..597..3.46..3261..3116..  711..1.137…22
PM..3…7…8..219-100..687..2.93..2827..3154….760..1.054….3’s Fan EloRater Rank:
3. Lefty Grove  
7. Warren Spahn
8. Randy Johnson
9. Greg Maddux
22. Pedro Martinez
25. Tom Glavine
27. Bob Gibson  
29. Nolan Ryan
35. John Smoltz
39. Curt Schilling

Gary Sheffield: Kurkjian praises Sheffield
…one of 12 players with 500 HR & .292 BA
…slugging percentage greater than several in HOF (Reggie Jackson)
…OPS equals Griffey Jr, higher than McCovey & Stargell
…WAR is greater than Killebrew.

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