Is ___________ a Hall of Famer?

koufax32

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One of the fun parts of MLBTV is watching games and feeds that I’d otherwise never see. I noticed tonight that Zach Grienke notched the 2,700th K of his career. He’s definitely within shooting distance of the magical 3k mark but I’ve never watched him and thought I was watching a HoFer like when I watch(ed) Verlander, Kershaw, etc.

So is he a HoFer? Part of me says no way. Part of me sees 3,000 k’s and Mike Mussina and thinks yes. What say you, SoSH with a short o?
 

scottyno

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Based on jaws and war he's barely under the average HOF starting pitcher, and has pretty similar though slightly less glamorous stats as verlander and kershaw so he probably should be in.
 

CaptainLaddie

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Greinke is absolutely a HOFer. I don't think there's even a question. He's likely to retire with 3000 Ks, he's got a career ERA+ of 125, he's one of the quirkiest and most interesting players of his generation. 200+ W, 3000 K, a Cy Young (and probably should have another for his 2015 season).

A list of players with 2600 Ks, 200 wins, and a career ERA+ of 118 or better who aren't in the HOF (I'm giving Greinke a HUGE cushion for his ERA+ to drop):

Clemens, Schilling, Verlander, Greinke.
 

Kliq

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Greinke is going to get in. He maybe didn't have the same kind of peak as Kershaw/Verlander/Scherzer but his counting stats are going to be pretty close, he won a Cy Young and probably should have won a second in 2015 when he had a 1.66 ERA but was overshadowed by Jake Arrieta's freakish second half. WAR and JAWS like him, and he could very well pitch for several more seasons to really pad his counting stats.

The most interesting HoF debate for me right now is Jose Abreu. Because he spent so much of his early-career in Cuba, he is unlikely to put up the raw counting totals necessary for a slugger to get in the hall of fame. However, since he has been essentially eligible to play in the majors, he has been one of the most consistent players hitters in baseball. His rookie year (age 27) he leads the AL in OPS+. Since then he has been good for between 30-35 homers and an OPS between .859-.950. He won the MVP last season, which helps a lot. In Cuba he was Barry Bonds, including a season where he hit 33 homers in 66 games and had an OPS of 1.583. He was an elite hitter in Cuba by the time he was 18. I think it's reasonable to think that he would have been a good major leaguer by the time he was 21-22, so can we look at the potential of his career and the counting stats he would have put up if he played his entire career in MLB?

Really, he is kind of like a lot of the Negro League players who had split careers between MLB and the Negro Leagues, like Monte Irvin. Maybe he hasn't quite been dominant enough in MLB to register for the hall of fame, but I find his case particularly fascinating. He is 34 right now, and he could have a Nelson Cruz-like finish to his career where he remains putting up big hitting numbers into his late 30s.
 

brs3

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Greinke is going to get in. He maybe didn't have the same kind of peak as Kershaw/Verlander/Scherzer but his counting stats are going to be pretty close, he won a Cy Young and probably should have won a second in 2015 when he had a 1.66 ERA but was overshadowed by Jake Arrieta's freakish second half. WAR and JAWS like him, and he could very well pitch for several more seasons to really pad his counting stats.

The most interesting HoF debate for me right now is Jose Abreu. Because he spent so much of his early-career in Cuba, he is unlikely to put up the raw counting totals necessary for a slugger to get in the hall of fame. However, since he has been essentially eligible to play in the majors, he has been one of the most consistent players hitters in baseball. His rookie year (age 27) he leads the AL in OPS+. Since then he has been good for between 30-35 homers and an OPS between .859-.950. He won the MVP last season, which helps a lot. In Cuba he was Barry Bonds, including a season where he hit 33 homers in 66 games and had an OPS of 1.583. He was an elite hitter in Cuba by the time he was 18. I think it's reasonable to think that he would have been a good major leaguer by the time he was 21-22, so can we look at the potential of his career and the counting stats he would have put up if he played his entire career in MLB?

Really, he is kind of like a lot of the Negro League players who had split careers between MLB and the Negro Leagues, like Monte Irvin. Maybe he hasn't quite been dominant enough in MLB to register for the hall of fame, but I find his case particularly fascinating. He is 34 right now, and he could have a Nelson Cruz-like finish to his career where he remains putting up big hitting numbers into his late 30s.
Is the modern day Cuban league considered an equivalent to MLB level talent? The Negro Leagues are considered the equivalent, but it took 100 years.
 

moondog80

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Yes on Greinke. Jose Abreu has work to do.

How about Joey Votto? Let the NL in OBP 7 times, and another time finished 2nd by a single percentage point. But looks like he was washed up at 35 and probably won't finish with much more than 300 HR, as a 1B.
 

tims4wins

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While I don't really agree with it, if Mussina is in the HoF, then I think Greinke gets in too. Pretty similar IMO.
 

snowmanny

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Right now;
Schilling 216-146. ERA 3.46 ERA+127 K/BB 3116/711
Greinke.. 210-127 ERA 3.36 ERA+ 125 K/BB 2705/680

Schilling postseason obviously >>Greinke.
 

Danny_Darwin

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Greinke is going to get in. He maybe didn't have the same kind of peak as Kershaw/Verlander/Scherzer but his counting stats are going to be pretty close, he won a Cy Young and probably should have won a second in 2015 when he had a 1.66 ERA but was overshadowed by Jake Arrieta's freakish second half. WAR and JAWS like him, and he could very well pitch for several more seasons to really pad his counting stats.

The most interesting HoF debate for me right now is Jose Abreu. Because he spent so much of his early-career in Cuba, he is unlikely to put up the raw counting totals necessary for a slugger to get in the hall of fame. However, since he has been essentially eligible to play in the majors, he has been one of the most consistent players hitters in baseball. His rookie year (age 27) he leads the AL in OPS+. Since then he has been good for between 30-35 homers and an OPS between .859-.950. He won the MVP last season, which helps a lot. In Cuba he was Barry Bonds, including a season where he hit 33 homers in 66 games and had an OPS of 1.583. He was an elite hitter in Cuba by the time he was 18. I think it's reasonable to think that he would have been a good major leaguer by the time he was 21-22, so can we look at the potential of his career and the counting stats he would have put up if he played his entire career in MLB?

Really, he is kind of like a lot of the Negro League players who had split careers between MLB and the Negro Leagues, like Monte Irvin. Maybe he hasn't quite been dominant enough in MLB to register for the hall of fame, but I find his case particularly fascinating. He is 34 right now, and he could have a Nelson Cruz-like finish to his career where he remains putting up big hitting numbers into his late 30s.
Interesting that you bring up Cruz - if he has another typical-for-him season this year, he’d be within shouting distance of 500 HRs (he’s at 421 right now). I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone refer to him as a future HoFer, but if he keeps playing beyond this year, he’d have an interesting résumé, no? He’s got a PED suspension, but I feel like that doesn’t get held against him the way that, for instance, Ryan Braun’s offenses do.
 

drbretto

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Right now;
Schilling 216-146. ERA 3.46 ERA+127 K/BB 3116/711
Greinke.. 210-127 ERA 3.36 ERA+ 125 K/BB 2705/680

Schilling postseason obviously >>Greinke.
Good points. But I don't even know if Greinke even has a twitter account, but he might end up paying Schilling's price. The numbers are good enough, but people will say if Schilling can't get in, Greinke can't. Or Greinke does get in and Schilling feels even more validated that it's all a sham against him.
 

Euclis20

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Good points. But I don't even know if Greinke even has a twitter account, but he might end up paying Schilling's price. The numbers are good enough, but people will say if Schilling can't get in, Greinke can't. Or Greinke does get in and Schilling feels even more validated that it's all a sham against him.
I don't think anyone is saying Schilling falls short due to his on field performance. Whether you agree with it or not it's pretty clear that Schilling is out (so far) because he's an awful person and proud of it. He's not a comp for Greinke. Mussina is closer, although he never won a CY like Greinke.

If he's barely under the average, then that means he's better a lot of guys in there.
Yeah that's pretty much it, right? If there are 83 pitchers in the HOF and Greinke is better than 30 of them, he's in. Not every new inductee needs to be above average.
 

YTF

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I don't think anyone is saying Schilling falls short due to his on field performance. Whether you agree with it or not it's pretty clear that Schilling is out (so far) because he's an awful person and proud of it. He's not a comp for Greinke. Mussina is closer, although he never won a CY like Greinke.



Yeah that's pretty much it, right? If there are 83 pitchers in the HOF and Greinke is better than 30 of them, he's in. Not every new inductee needs to be above average.
Yeah, I mean the very definition of average dictates there will be guys who are below average.
 

Kliq

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Is the modern day Cuban league considered an equivalent to MLB level talent? The Negro Leagues are considered the equivalent, but it took 100 years.
It's not that they are the equivalent, it's that Abreu missed out on a full major league career because he was basically ineligible to play in MLB until he was 27. Since during his rookie season he was one of the top hitters in baseball, I think it's reasonable to believe he missed out on at least 3-4 prime seasons, which will end up hurting his counting stats.
 

drbretto

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I don't think anyone is saying Schilling falls short due to his on field performance. Whether you agree with it or not it's pretty clear that Schilling is out (so far) because he's an awful person and proud of it. He's not a comp for Greinke. Mussina is closer, although he never won a CY like Greinke.
I agree Schilling is out because he's a terrible person. That's what I was getting at. Because Schilling is out and their numbers are close, I expect people will use it as evidence that Greinke isn't over the hump. It could affect his votes. Not that it will be a rational argument based on reality or anything.
 

moondog80

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Abreu's issue is that there are a ton of big hitting 1B not in, and he doesn't stand out among them: Palmeiro, McGriff, Konerko, Giambi, Encarnacion all have 400+ HR, and Abreu has 200 at age 34. He's going to have to be like another of my pet candidates, the aforementioned Nelson Cruz, to get any consideration. Like Abreu, Cruz had a late start (only 15 HR going into his age 27 season, the age where Abreu started) but has been great since, and ridiculously good form age 35 on, still going strong at age 40. And I still don't know if people see Cruz as a legit candidate.
 

Kliq

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Abreu's issue is that there are a ton of big hitting 1B not in, and he doesn't stand out among them: Palmeiro, McGriff, Konerko, Giambi, Encarnacion all have 400+ HR, and Abreu has 200 at age 34. He's going to have to be like another of my pet candidates, the aforementioned Nelson Cruz, to get any consideration. Like Abreu, Cruz had a late start (only 15 HR going into his age 27 season, the age where Abreu started) but has been great since, and ridiculously good form age 35 on, still going strong at age 40. And I still don't know if people see Cruz as a legit candidate.
This is why him missing key seasons of his career is so important. He is likely going to miss some of the key counting stats a slugger like him needs to build a HoF case. I wonder if the fact that he just couldn't play MLB will be factored into that discussion.

I think The Hit Dog should be in.
 

moondog80

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This is why him missing key seasons of his career is so important. He is likely going to miss some of the key counting stats a slugger like him needs to build a HoF case. I wonder if the fact that he just couldn't play MLB will be factored into that discussion.
Let's generously spot him 120 HR for the time missed, that brings him to 320. A 1B who isn't a Votto or Helton with OBP is going to need at least 500 HR. Abreu is 34 and he had a 117 OPS+ in 2018 and 2019 before catching fire in a 60 game season last year (I think voter will look at his MVP with an appropriate "yeah, but..."). His second highest HR total ever is 33. 180 (6 years of 30) isn't impossible, especially if he can be a productive DH at 40 and 41, but I'd go heavy on the under.
 

snowmanny

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I don't think anyone is saying Schilling falls short due to his on field performance. Whether you agree with it or not it's pretty clear that Schilling is out (so far) because he's an awful person and proud of it. He's not a comp for Greinke.

I should have been clearer regarding Schilling. Or maybe I should have avoided him because he’s a lightning rod. My sense was that Schilling is just short as a regular season pitcher but was due to get in eventually due to his epic postseason record including pitching great in three title runs plus 1993. He was going to get enough of a bump to get in ....but gave that away.

I think Greinke is also just short as a regular season pitcher, probably 1-2 very good, but not necessarily great, seasons away.
 

ngruz25

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If Zack Greinke isn't a Hall of Famer, then which pitchers in the last 15ish years are in the Hall?

Verlander (pretty similar career to Greinke, but one more Cy Young and an MVP)

Kershaw (shorter peak but better)

Scherzer (shorter peak but better)

I think that would be it, right? Then you get into the next wave with DeGrom leading the way. There's no way 10-20 years of baseball pass with so few Hall of Fame pitchers.
 
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PC Drunken Friar

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What about 2 catchers? Yadier Molina and Buster Posey. I think the writers love the intangibles of Molina (even if you can quantify his pitch framing). He had a very high 3 year peak, but his offense will end up being below average for his career.

Posey has rings, the MVP but (probably) not the career longevity or counting numbers. Personally, as someone who is in favor of a HoF that tells the complete story of baseball, both of these guys get in. The SF Giants even yea 3 WS is awesome and he was the linchpin. Molina getting in shows that defense and leadership IS valuable in baseball.
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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Joe Mauer was a lock through his twenties, but then came the punchless first baseman portion of his career, which seemed to completely derail that talk. His numbers still compare favorably to Hall of Fame catchers if you forget that he spent a lot of games at first base to compile the raw numbers. The rate stats he had in his prime while he was behind the plate were certainly Hall of Fame worthy. He's the only catcher with three batting titles, and actually the only American League catcher with even one. I think if he'd stayed behind the dish, even if it cut down on his playing time and numbers, he'd be considered more Hall of Fame worthy.
 

tims4wins

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This is why him missing key seasons of his career is so important. He is likely going to miss some of the key counting stats a slugger like him needs to build a HoF case. I wonder if the fact that he just couldn't play MLB will be factored into that discussion.

I think The Hit Dog should be in.
I assume you mean the Crime Dog?
 

koufax32

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If Zack Greinke isn't a Hall of Famer, then which pitchers in the last 15ish years are in the Hall?

Verlander (pretty similar career to Greinke, but one more Cy Young and an MVP)

Kershaw (shorter peak but better)

Scherzer (shorter peak but better)

I think that would be it, right? Then you get into the next wave with DeGrom leading the way. There's no way 10-20 years of baseball pass with so few Hall of Fame pitchers.
Those other three are definites for me. Each has had periods where they were absolute shut down pitchers who could routinely go stretches of 4-5 innings without any hits or hard contact. Call it Pedro-ability if you will.

It really is a shame that Schilling lost his mind. There should have been a statue of him leaning over and holding is ankle outside Fenway.
 

Chainsaw318

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Kimbrel? Could end this year or next as top 10-ish in career Saves, pitched in big markets, won a WS, 7X All star. The closer thing is weird, but Kimbrel is going to have a good resume and counting numbers.

I dont know if any of the other closers of the era get in, unless Joe Nathan is favored by a bunch.
 
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CoolPapaBellhorn

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Greinke is in. On top of everything that has already been said, he's got six gold gloves and two silver sluggers. That's obviously not the be-all and end-all, but the extra accolades always help, and he's been widely considered to be a good hitting pitcher and a good fielder. If he gets to (or at least close to) 3,000 Ks with a Cy, those are nice tiebreakers to have.
 

YTF

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Greinke is in. On top of everything that has already been said, he's got six gold gloves and two silver sluggers. That's obviously not the be-all and end-all, but the extra accolades always help, and he's been widely considered to be a good hitting pitcher and a good fielder. If he gets to (or at least close to) 3,000 Ks with a Cy, those are nice tiebreakers to have.
I never considered the gold gloves. I think he's in without them, but add those on and there should be absolutely no doubt. The Silver Sluggers, not so much considering there's not a ton of competition there, plus SSS in any given season.
 

CaptainLaddie

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Yes on Greinke. Jose Abreu has work to do.

How about Joey Votto? Let the NL in OBP 7 times, and another time finished 2nd by a single percentage point. But looks like he was washed up at 35 and probably won't finish with much more than 300 HR, as a 1B.
I think Votto is in. He won an MVP, was top 7 for MVP 5 times. Assuming his career OPS+ slumps more this season, let's say 144 career-wise (that'd be a big drop from 148), here's the list of players with a career OPS+ of 144 who aren't in the HOF who also played at least 1700 games and with at least 300 homers (to cut out younger active players):

Steroid guys: Bonds, McGwire, Manny
Still active: Votto, Pujols, Miggy
Retired and should be in the HOF already, I'm looking at you, Veterans Committee: Dick Allen

It would be very weird if Votto doesn't end up in the Hall. Pujols is a lock for the HOF (3 MVPs, 10 places in the top 5 for MVP voting, insane), but since he turned 37, these are his slash stats: .241/.291/.404 for an OPS+ of 86. 119 BB and 255 K. It's kind of crazy how badly he's fallen off -- or stopped taking HGH?
 

CaptainLaddie

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Kimbrel? Could end this year or next as top 10-ish in career Saves, pitched in big markets, won a WS, 7X All star. The closer thing is weird, but Kimbrel is going to have a good resume and counting numbers.

I dont know if any of the other closers of the era get in, unless Joe Nathan is favored by a bunch.
Kimbrel is a weird one for me.

351 saves, a career ERA+ as a closer of 189, a K/9 of 14.7, K/W of 4.07.

Using those metrics, he's literally the only pitcher ever with at least 350 saves, an ERA+ of 180, a K/BB of 3.5 and a K/9 of 13 who isn't in the HOF. Heck, he's the only pitcher with those stats. Those are all truly insane numbers. But if we drop the K/9 out (since Kimbrel is I think the all-time leader in that), we get Billy Wagner and Craig Kimbrel (so just 350 SV, ERA+ 180, K/BB 3.5).

Wagner's gone from 10.5% in his first year of eligibility to 46.4% in his sixth. Obviously, that's good, but... I'm not sure he gets there. Kimbrel also had five top 10 Cy Young finishes, Wagner had two (though, damn, Wagner had exactly one season where he had an ERA over 2.85 -- even his final season in 2010 he had a 1.43 ERA in 71 appearances, the guy had a live arm at the end still).

Still, among pitchers with at least 350 saves, there are seven other pitchers not in the HOF (K-Rod, Franco, Wagner, Nathan, Paps, Reardon, Percival) -- I don't think any of them (except MAYBE Wagner -- Franco should probably be in just for his longevity, honestly) gets in.

And here's the thing: entering this season, Kimbrel's thrown about 530 innings in his whole career. Among guys who actually played in MLB and are in the HOF (and didn't play in the 1800s), he'd be dead last behind Bruce Sutter -- who threw 1042 innings.

Kimbrel gets in if people are impressed with his genuinely impressive rate stats. That's my take.
 

Gdiguy

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If Zack Greinke isn't a Hall of Famer, then which pitchers in the last 15ish years are in the Hall?

Verlander (pretty similar career to Greinke, but one more Cy Young and an MVP)

Kershaw (shorter peak but better)

Scherzer (shorter peak but better)

I think that would be it, right? Then you get into the next wave with DeGrom leading the way. There's no way 10-20 years of baseball pass with so few Hall of Fame pitchers.
I was going to ask about what people thought about DeGrom, because I think he’s interesting in the Abreu sense - he didn’t start in MLB until 26, so even with 2 CYs and RoY to date he’s got no realistic chance to even come close to Greinke’s career numbers (and to hit 15 seasons he'd have to still be pitching at 41)... so I wonder what he'd actually realistically need to achieve to get serious consideration (Johan Santana was unceremoniously dropped after his 1st year on the ballot with 2 CYs but only a 12 year career - I'm very much on board with that being ridiculous https://www.pitcherlist.com/one-and-done-johan-santanas-hall-of-fame-chance/ )

Looking through the list though, I think Sabathia's got a decent chance, with Felix Hernandez maybe as an outside shot?
 

sean1562

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If Kimbrel's return to dominance can last a year or two, then he has to get serious consideration. 12th all time in saves and only 33 years old. Wagner hung around until he was 36 or so, why not Craig?

I think the WAR figures are really helpful in uncovering underappreciated players, but sticking to a formalistic "everyone above this figure gets in, everyone below stays out" is a silly way to get people in the HoF. Players like Mauer and Posey 100% belong in the HoF, Yadier Molina too. At the end of the day, those stats aren't a completely accurate representation of a player's value and with Catchers, they are probably off more than any other position. This is the article that convinced me that Yadi is a HoF player:

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/instagraphs/yadier-molinas-career-in-four-graphs/
 

Seels

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Greinke is pretty much a slam dunk for me.

As far as the catchers, Molina is probably a no, and Posey is a yes. I just think Molina had a lot of seasons he was either bad or blah, and not many seasons one would reasonably argue he was a top 5 or so catcher. Not that WAR is super great for catchers, but he only has 2 seasons above 4 WAR. Molina of 2011-2013 got there, but not good enough in the other years. So much of Yadier's value comes in his defense, and I'm really not sold that any of these defensive stats for catchers are worth anything.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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Clayton Kershaw is not even a question, he has 3 CY, and MVP, and a career 2.43 ERA. I’m also not sure it’s fair to say his peak was shorter than Grienkes. He’s been better than Greinke basically every single year since 2010 (even Grienkes 1.66 ERA year in 2015, Kershaw had a lower FIP and way more strikeouts and innings). Hes only one year with an ERA over 2.79, and it was 3.03 in 2019
 

azsoxpatsfan

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Degrom is interesting, especially because the Mets refuse to give him any help at all so he only has 71 career wins. But as of right now, there are 10 pitchers who have won 3 CY, and only Clemens, Kershaw, and Scherzer aren’t in (with Kersh and Scherzer shoe ins once eligible). Degrom has 2 currently, and could easily win a 3rd this year. If he does, he’d have one of the most dominant peaks in history, a ROY and 3 CY, plus whatever he can accomplish in his mid and late 30s.
 

grimshaw

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Abreu belongs nowhere near the conversation at this point. We have no idea how 1b would fare against similar competition in Cuba over that time period. We do, however know how he compares to his peers over the same age seasons in MLB.

Just for shits and giggles, I filtered all 1b by their age 27 to 34 seasons since 1970 - mid to end prime and the seasons in which Abreu has played.

By fWAR he is 42nd out of 231 qualified players. The 3 guys below him were Boog Powell, Ryan Klesko, and Andre Thornton.
The 3 guys above him were Kent Hrbek, John Kruk and Tino Martinez.

In OBP he is 93rd just behind Mike Napoli. In wRC+ he is flanked by Adrian Gonzalez and Fred McGriff (who does have an argument to be fair) for 33rd. He also contributes well below nothing on defense or baserunning compared to his peers.

He slugs high, hits a ton of home runs and accumulates stats in the top 20% of the league just like most solidly above average 1b do.

Wouldn't it stand to reason that those guys would do just as well or better if their careers began outside MLB?
 
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CaptainLaddie

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Degrom is interesting, especially because the Mets refuse to give him any help at all so he only has 71 career wins. But as of right now, there are 10 pitchers who have won 3 CY, and only Clemens, Kershaw, and Scherzer aren’t in (with Kersh and Scherzer shoe ins once eligible). Degrom has 2 currently, and could easily win a 3rd this year. If he does, he’d have one of the most dominant peaks in history, a ROY and 3 CY, plus whatever he can accomplish in his mid and late 30s.
If you win 3 CYA, you go to the HOF (y'know, unless you're Clemens -- but even he should be in). If DeGrom won it this year and then retired, he'd get in.
 

snowmanny

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In my mind, Santana should have won three in a row. And I think he would win the re-vote today where wins are seen as less important.
 

grimshaw

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Degrom is interesting, especially because the Mets refuse to give him any help at all so he only has 71 career wins. But as of right now, there are 10 pitchers who have won 3 CY, and only Clemens, Kershaw, and Scherzer aren’t in (with Kersh and Scherzer shoe ins once eligible). Degrom has 2 currently, and could easily win a 3rd this year. If he does, he’d have one of the most dominant peaks in history, a ROY and 3 CY, plus whatever he can accomplish in his mid and late 30s.
The only thing hurting him is that he didn't make it to the bigs until he was 26 as indicated and is Kershaw's age now. He will need quite a bit of padding still IMO to satisfy enough voters. We're clearly seeing peak Hall of Fame level talent right now though. Shame that his 2020 will be largely forgotten as one of his potentially best seasons.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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In my mind, Santana should have won three in a row. And I think he would win the re-vote today where wins are seen as less important.
Definitely. He lead the league in fip, era+, and strikeouts all 3 seasons. He was third in voting in 2005 behind Bartolo and Mariano, and was 3.2 bWAR ahead of both of them. Buerhle, John garland, and Kevin Millwood were realistically all better than at least Bartolo that season also. He won because of 21 wins
 

67YAZ

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SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
3,371
Kimbrel is a weird one for me.

351 saves, a career ERA+ as a closer of 189, a K/9 of 14.7, K/W of 4.07.

Using those metrics, he's literally the only pitcher ever with at least 350 saves, an ERA+ of 180, a K/BB of 3.5 and a K/9 of 13 who isn't in the HOF. Heck, he's the only pitcher with those stats. Those are all truly insane numbers. But if we drop the K/9 out (since Kimbrel is I think the all-time leader in that), we get Billy Wagner and Craig Kimbrel (so just 350 SV, ERA+ 180, K/BB 3.5).

Wagner's gone from 10.5% in his first year of eligibility to 46.4% in his sixth. Obviously, that's good, but... I'm not sure he gets there. Kimbrel also had five top 10 Cy Young finishes, Wagner had two (though, damn, Wagner had exactly one season where he had an ERA over 2.85 -- even his final season in 2010 he had a 1.43 ERA in 71 appearances, the guy had a live arm at the end still).

Still, among pitchers with at least 350 saves, there are seven other pitchers not in the HOF (K-Rod, Franco, Wagner, Nathan, Paps, Reardon, Percival) -- I don't think any of them (except MAYBE Wagner -- Franco should probably be in just for his longevity, honestly) gets in.

And here's the thing: entering this season, Kimbrel's thrown about 530 innings in his whole career. Among guys who actually played in MLB and are in the HOF (and didn't play in the 1800s), he'd be dead last behind Bruce Sutter -- who threw 1042 innings.

Kimbrel gets in if people are impressed with his genuinely impressive rate stats. That's my take.
However many years back, we had a thread where we argued and voted on HoF classes to build a SoSH Hall of Fame. One of the best threads I've been a part of here - so much good writing and debating.

One point that has stuck with me from that thread is that because relievers pitch so few innings compared to starters, relievers really have to bring exponentially more value per inning to stand out as exceptional at their specialized job. An RP really has to dominate for a long stretch of time to be HoF-worthy and to capture that we need to lean into advanced stats.

I pulled this selection of stats using FanGraphs to try to get a sense. Here's the top-30 ranked by WPA. This list smells right to me in that it surfaces most, if not all, of the names I expect to see in "do relievers belong in the Hall?" debates. It cements the point that Rivera is so far beyond his peers that it's pointless to compare anyone else to him. It's similar to Pos’ argument that if Willie Mays is the stick you use to measure HoFers by, then you’ll end up with a Hall of 1.

But Hoffman might be a good bar to measure against given that his whole career occurred in the modern "closer era," his rate and advanced counting stats are elite, and he's already enshrined. Against Hoffman, Billy Wagner does really well - clearly better on a per inning basis, though only 82% of the innings.

Kimbrel looks like he could surpass on KRod on the advanced counting stats with a few more good seasons, though catching Wagner would require a few more seasons at peak levels for Kimbrel. I think Wagner should be in and KRod is borderline, so I'd rate Kimbrel as having a good shot at meeting my HoF standard (for whatever that is worth).

Some other observations - Joe Nathan deserves more respect. Jansen and Chapman are really very similar. The number of MFYs on this list is incredible and incredibly nauseating.

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Edit: In the light of morning, I decided to run a similar chart with starters mixed in to help the value per inning aspect pop. Here it is sorted by WPA again, which again shows how crazy dominant Rivera was - providing the same WAR as Roy Oswalt in a thousand fewer innings. But what really pops for Kimbrel is that xFIP- under 60, which is absolutely sick. I think if he can get to 800IP staying at or below Wagner's 63xFIP-, then everything else should line up well for a great HoF case. In my eyes, at least...maybe not the voters...

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Red(s)HawksFan

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Jan 23, 2009
14,013
Maine
If you win 3 CYA, you go to the HOF (y'know, unless you're Clemens -- but even he should be in). If DeGrom won it this year and then retired, he'd get in.
If he won another CY this year then retired, he would not get in. Gotta play 10 years to be eligible. This is season 8 for him.

But provided he doesn't experience a Lincecum like comedown to finish his career, he's pretty much a lock if he does get to (and past) the 10 year mark.
 

CaptainLaddie

dj paul pfieffer
SoSH Member
Sep 6, 2004
31,232
the district
If he won another CY this year then retired, he would not get in. Gotta play 10 years to be eligible. This is season 8 for him.

But provided he doesn't experience a Lincecum like comedown to finish his career, he's pretty much a lock if he does get to (and past) the 10 year mark.
Ah, fair point.
 

donutogre

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Jul 20, 2005
2,340
Philadelphia
I was going to ask about what people thought about DeGrom, because I think he’s interesting in the Abreu sense - he didn’t start in MLB until 26, so even with 2 CYs and RoY to date he’s got no realistic chance to even come close to Greinke’s career numbers (and to hit 15 seasons he'd have to still be pitching at 41)... so I wonder what he'd actually realistically need to achieve to get serious consideration (Johan Santana was unceremoniously dropped after his 1st year on the ballot with 2 CYs but only a 12 year career - I'm very much on board with that being ridiculous https://www.pitcherlist.com/one-and-done-johan-santanas-hall-of-fame-chance/ )

Looking through the list though, I think Sabathia's got a decent chance, with Felix Hernandez maybe as an outside shot?
My first thought when looking at the list @ngruz25 posted and asked about other potential pitchers was Sabathia. After looking at his stats, though, I’m surprised at them being a little less impressive than I remembered. Putting aside all Yankee bias, he was impressive as hell for a long time. I know he had a few bad years that drag down his ERA+ and what not, but I was also surprised at how he put it back together after that and had 3 more good seasons when a lesser pitcher might have hung it up.

His peak from 2006 to 2012 was really fucking good. Not sure if it is enough, but he had a high peak as well as a good amount of longevity. I’ll also never not be in awe of the way he pitched for Milwaukee in his half-season there. It was just wild to see him single-handedly drag that team into the postseason.
 

YTF

Member
SoSH Member
I was going to ask about what people thought about DeGrom, because I think he’s interesting in the Abreu sense - he didn’t start in MLB until 26, so even with 2 CYs and RoY to date he’s got no realistic chance to even come close to Greinke’s career numbers (and to hit 15 seasons he'd have to still be pitching at 41)... so I wonder what he'd actually realistically need to achieve to get serious consideration (Johan Santana was unceremoniously dropped after his 1st year on the ballot with 2 CYs but only a 12 year career - I'm very much on board with that being ridiculous https://www.pitcherlist.com/one-and-done-johan-santanas-hall-of-fame-chance/ )

Looking through the list though, I think Sabathia's got a decent chance, with Felix Hernandez maybe as an outside shot?
Regarding deGrom, I think that with a career in the neighborhood of 12 years, the gold standard would be Kofax. He's not there yet, but a decade of dominance should gamer serious consideration. There's nothing he can do about the win total and a lack of post season play in a shorter career might work against him, but he's also doing what he's doing in an era when teams other than his score a shit ton of runs and balls fly out of the park at a record pace.
 

jon abbey

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Jul 15, 2005
53,839
I’ll also never not be in awe of the way he pitched for Milwaukee in his half-season there. It was just wild to see him single-handedly drag that team into the postseason.
That year he managed to be the league leader (or tied) in complete game shutouts in both leagues, 2 for CLE and 3 for MIL.

Also his final regular season game ever was a pretty great way to go out. Pitching in Tampa at the end of 2019, he needed just a few innings to trigger a half million dollar bonus. But he thought Tampa was throwing at Yankee batters, so he retaliated, got tossed and left, yelling the whole way. I think NY ended up giving him the bonus anyway.
 

Was (Not Wasdin)

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Jul 26, 2007
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Greinke is absolutely a HOFer. I don't think there's even a question. He's likely to retire with 3000 Ks, he's got a career ERA+ of 125, he's one of the quirkiest and most interesting players of his generation. 200+ W, 3000 K, a Cy Young (and probably should have another for his 2015 season).

A list of players with 2600 Ks, 200 wins, and a career ERA+ of 118 or better who aren't in the HOF (I'm giving Greinke a HUGE cushion for his ERA+ to drop):

Clemens, Schilling, Verlander, Greinke.
With a decent season this year and next (which is clearly not really likely), Jon Lester gets there-he needs 7 wins, about 200K's, and his career ERA + is at 119, so any slippage and he doesnt get there.

His postseason numbers are really good: Overall 9-7 a 2.51 era and a 1.019 whip. World Series is even better: 5 starts, 4-1 record, 1.77 era, .925 whip, a key guy on 3 WS winning teams.

Even if he gets to those numbers Laddie cites, I dont think Lester is a Hall of Famer (although I'd have no trouble making the argument for him). He's got very little black ink on his B-Ref page and his career comps for WAR are guys like Brad Radke and Steve Rogers (the Expos pitcher, not Captain America).

He is a first ballot member of the Hall of Very Good, unless he has a stunning late career renaissance.
 

CaptainLaddie

dj paul pfieffer
SoSH Member
Sep 6, 2004
31,232
the district
With a decent season this year and next (which is clearly not really likely), Jon Lester gets there-he needs 7 wins, about 200K's, and his career ERA + is at 119, so any slippage and he doesnt get there.

His postseason numbers are really good: Overall 9-7 a 2.51 era and a 1.019 whip. World Series is even better: 5 starts, 4-1 record, 1.77 era, .925 whip, a key guy on 3 WS winning teams.

Even if he gets to those numbers Laddie cites, I dont think Lester is a Hall of Famer (although I'd have no trouble making the argument for him). He's got very little black ink on his B-Ref page and his career comps for WAR are guys like Brad Radke and Steve Rogers (the Expos pitcher, not Captain America).

He is a first ballot member of the Hall of Very Good, unless he has a stunning late career renaissance.
Lester is basically the epitome of "Hall of Very Good".