Friday, May 13, 2011

HOF Pitchers

Hall of Fame Pitchers
With no player garnering the required votes last season, I thought we should take a closer look at some of the nominees, first up, the pitchers.

No pitcher has been elected to the HOF yet.  So, please, take the time to vote this year, and whatever you do, vote for at least one pitcher.  I’m recommending two make your ballot.
I’m going to totally ignore relievers for now.  There are very few in the MLB HOF and while I think there are 1-2 that deserve to be in, I think there are at least 5 starters that merit consideration first.  If you feel the need to vote for a closer, PICK ONE, and save a vote or three for some starters.
I’m focusing on 3 main areas when considering the pitchers.  First, awards; I think the Cy Young, All Star Teams, and Fireman awards are critical in determining who were the elite pitchers in any given season.  Next, I’m looking at the 3-4 best season a pitcher had.  In my opinion, dominance is the single most important factor qualifying someone for the HOF.  I’ll point out the top seasons for each of the featured candidates.  And finally, career totals.  While they have a lot to do with longevity and the team on which a pitcher played, I’m still looking for career wins (200 is a huge threshold), career Win %, ERA and WHIP.   

Now, on to the candidates:
Delino Fischer’s case rests first and foremost on his proven ability to win games.  His 225 career wins are tops among eligible players, with only a couple active pitchers ahead of him on the all-time list.  Of the 6 hurlers profiled here, Fischer threw the most innings and had the highest strikeout rate, both impressive numbers.  A quick look at his top seasons show a 21-3, 215 IP, 2.55 ERA, 1.13 WHIP season 8 (Cy Young) and an 18-6, 213 IP, 2.07 ERA, 1.00 season 10.  One negative, Fischer was just 5-6 in 16 career post-season starts.  It should be noted that his career numbers include a couple season in Texas, a very hitter-friendly park in the AL.

Among the 6 profile, only Moose Gates had a higher ERA, but Charles Kubinski won 3 Cy Young awards.  That cannot be overlooked.  His 5 20-win seasons are unprecedented in Second City.  Bear in mind that his career ended in season 13 and he only had 11 meaningful yeas.  He likely would have been a star in pre-season 1 if such a thing existed.  It’s not easy to pick a best, 20 win season (20-10, 21-10, 22-3, 22-4, 20-3), but Season 9, with the 2.55 ERA and 1.00 WHIP stands out.  17-11 in 46 career post season appearances (37 starts) is another feather in Kubinski’s cap. 
I believe that the 3 Cy Young’s make him THE pitcher to vote for if you only choose 1.

Lenny’s 73% winning percentage is the best of these  6 and in fact, the best of all-time.  His 23-1, 209 IP, 2.89 ERA, 1.03 WHIP in live-ball season 3 might be one of the top 2 or 3 seasons ever turned in.  He also threw up an 18-4, 2.34, 1.04 season 7.  His 6 All-Star appearances, 1 Cy Young and a Rookie of the Year are also were noting.  He won 3 World Series Rings while going 11-8 career in the post-season.  I think he is very deserving, but he rates 3rd, behind Kubinski and Fischer in my list.

Hemphill had one of the shorter careers of this list, essentially fading away after season 10.  He hung on as a reliever for parts of 3 more seasons but was no longer a key piece.  Still, he won just under 70% of his career decisions, and has the best career ERA and 2nd best WHIP of the seven pitchers on this list.  His 2 Cy Youngs and 4 All Star Appearances are impressive.  Hemp turned in 10 straight double-digit win seasons topping out with a 20-5 2.70 ERA in season 5 which came on the heels of 2.25 and 2.34 ERAs in season 3-4.  Still, he only topped 200 IP 3 times in 9 seasons as a full time starter.  A great pitcher that’s a couple seasons short of putting up the numbers of the others – he probably belongs, but not yet.

Bart made 32 or 33 starts in each of the world’s first 9 seasons.  A true horse, he worked 220 or more innings 7 times.  In season 8, he won 18 games for Sioux Falls and LA (mid-season trade) while posting a 2.17 ERA and 0.92 WHIP.  The 6-time all-star never won the Cy Young but did land 1 World Series Ring.  He’s a legitimate contender, but not at the level of Ohman or Fischer.

Moose’s 199 wins are the 2nd most in the group, but his 147 losses are the most.  He’s thrown tons of innings and win a lot of games but his overall numbers just aren’t in line with the rest of this group.  He did make 3 all-star teams and won 1 Cy Young.

Washington’s 123 wins are far and away the fewest of this group.  In his defense he was already mid-career by season 1, but he probably lacks the career-long track record of the others listed here.  

W L W% IP K K/9 ERA WHIP All Star Cy Young WS Ring
Fischer 225 138 62.0% 3342.67 2776           7.47           3.89           1.27                 4                 1                -  
Kubinski 194 90 68.3% 2470 1890           6.89           3.87           1.25                 4                 3                 2
Ohman 181 67 73.0% 2268 1873           7.43           3.44           1.21                 6                 1                 3
Hemphill 172 76 69.4% 1953.67 1521           7.01           3.28           1.20                 4                 2                 2
Gonzalez 193 132 59.4% 3096.67 2489           7.23           3.31           1.20                 6                -                   1
Gates 199 147 57.5% 3134 2483           7.13           4.09           1.34                 3                 1                -  
Washngiton 123 66 65.1% 1722 1170           6.11           3.42           1.34                 4                -                  -  

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