Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Greatest pitchers, 1954-2008

A few days ago in "The ten win pitcher" I explained what goes into the system, so I won't explain that again. Here are the pitchers with the highest wins above replacement:

Clemens 128.1
Seaver 104.8
Maddux 96.0
P Neikro 95.5
G Perry 93.9
R Johnson 91.9

BERT BLYLEVEN 89.8

Nolan Ryan 83.0
Bob Gibson 82.6
Steve Carlton 82.4
Fergie Jenkins 82.0
Mike Mussina 76.8
Pedro Martinez 76.5
Curt Schilling 72.2
Don Sutton 70.9
Tom Glavine 67.0
Don Drysdale 64.8

RICK REUSCHEL 64.7

Kevin Brown 64.5
Jim Palmer 64.5
Juan Marichal 64.2
John Smoltz 64.0
Dennis Eckersley 61.3
Jim Bunning 60.3

Other than the two in bold, every pitcher on this list is either a hall of famer or has not yet been eligible for the vote. Blyleven really stands out - he is the single most deserving player who has been rejected by the HOF voters. A truly great pitcher. Wins over replacement rewards guys who played forever. League average picks up 2 WAR per year, so an average pitcher who threw a knuckleball and lasted 25 seasons could earn 50 WAR. Phil Niekro was no average pitcher, he was really good, but not as good as Bob Gibson at his best. I'm a bit surprised that he rates so high. Part of it is he's getting credit for surviving some bad Atlanta defenses that are estimated to have cost him 108 runs over his career. All in all, a really good job by the voters, with the glaring exception of Blyleven.

Sixty wins looks like a magic mark. There are 13 pitchers between 50 and 60 WAR, and only one of them is in, Sandy Koufax (53.9). And Koufax is obviously not in for his bulk career value.

About 30 pitchers are in the 40-50 range, and the only Hall of Famers are guys who I'm only looking at half their careers (Warren Spahn, Robin Roberts), relievers (Wilhelm, Gossage), and Whitey Ford, who I'm only missing 2 seasons on. Ford comes in at 48.3 and probably would be around 55 with his first 2 years.

The real outlier is Catfish Hunter (32.9) who pitched in front of some great defenses yet only barely cracked a 100 ERA+ at 104. He was a real workhorse for a few years, and did pitch well as part of 5 world champions.

I should note that this database is not set up to properly handle relievers, only starters. Relievers should be judged against a different replacement level baseline than starters, and they should get credit for leverage if they are pitching the late innings of close games. I've got all pitchers lumped together.

12 Comments:

At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Great stuff here, as usual.

Can you do something like list the top ten pitchers who have the highest totals over any 3, 5, and 7 seasons in their career. And similarly, the highest WAR in consecutive seasons for 3, 5, and 7 seasons. Maybe in a future post. (I'm so greedy.)

 
At 12:44 PM, Blogger MHS said...

Did you look at Tommy John? I would guess he should be on the list.

 
At 2:42 PM, Blogger Chone Smith said...

I've got John at 58.1, just missing the cutoff for the post.

 
At 2:43 PM, Blogger Chone Smith said...

Peak value lists? That's a lot of work. Maybe someday.

 
At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Aaron B. said...

Interesting post. I'm surprised to see Eck so high. Then again, it's not like I saw any of his career when he was starting, so I only have his stats and his relief career so what do I know.

BTW, I was wondering where Jack Morris ranked in all this.

Thanks for your work Rally.

 
At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Jeff said...

What about the 30 and under crowd? Anyone in that population among today's younger pitchers projecting HOF or any surprises screaming out?

 
At 7:15 PM, Blogger Chone Smith said...

Jack Morris was 40 wins over replacement.

For some of the younger active pitchers:

Halladay 41.0
Santana 40.7
Hudson 40.6
Oswalt 37.0
Buehrle 35.9
Sabathia 32.7
Webb 29.3
Zambrano 26.2
Peavy 23.8
Lackey 22.3
Beckett 20.2

Johan and the Roys are probably on HOF tracks. Maybe Sabathia too. Just depends on how they finish.

 
At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Rudy Gamble said...

Chone -
Cool analysis. Not surprised on Blyleven. Interestingly enough, when I was analyzing starting pitchers not in HOF, Reuschel showed up really high in my analysis too (http://razzball.com/bert-blyleven-hall-of-fame/).

I was ranking based on Quality Start % which obviously doesn't adjust for all the factors that WAR would.

Combined it with ERA+ (to take in those factors) and found that all the HOF pitches come in at 60+ QS% and 115 ERA+ except Sutton, Ryan, and Hunter fell a bit short on ERA+.

Blyleven was the only eligible non-HOF starter to pass these two hurdles (Morris isn't close) but Reuschel is real close. Koosman and Tommy John are close as well (I gave the thumbs-up for Tommy John since he was above average quality for so long - like Sutton).

Oh, and Kevin Brown looks really good on this analysis too. He may be the next Bert Blyleven as he's going to be overshadowed his first 5 years of eligibility...

Rudy

 
At 1:10 AM, Blogger lucyliu said...

nike air max 90
nike air max 95
nike air max tn
nike air rift
nike shox r4
nike air max 360
nike shox nz
puma mens shoes
puma shoes
puma speed
nike shoes
nike air
nike air shoes
puma cat
air max trainers
mens nike air max
nike shoes air max
nike shoes shox
air shoes
nike shoe cart
puma future
cheap puma
sports shoes
nike air rifts
nike air rift trainer
nike air
nike rift
nike rift shoes
cheap nike air rifts
bape shoes
jeans shop
diesel jeans
levis jeans

 
At 6:28 PM, Blogger LAN said...

puma mens shoes
puma shoes
puma speed
nike shoes
nike air
nike air shoes
nike air max 90
nike air max 95
nike air max tn
nike air rift
nike shox r4
nike air max 360
nike shox nz
puma cat
air max trainers
mens nike air max
sports shoes
nike air rifts
nike air rift trainer
nike air
nike shoes air max
nike shoes shox
air shoes
Lucyliu IS Lucyliu
nike shoe cart
puma future
cheap puma
nike rift
jeans shop
diesel jeans
levis jeans
nike rift shoes
cheap nike air rifts
bape shoes

 
At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

selarl adapter hepworth salespeople matarelli successively violator mechanically pulls losec anshul
servimundos melifermuly

 
At 11:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kozpont fellow werknemers leonardo walked grammar antimalarial trebbia pdfbuitenl darwen certified
servimundos melifermuly

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home