Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hall of Fame Potential by Game Score

There are six Starting Pitchers on this year's Hall of Fame ballot:


Rk HOFs JAWS
1 Roger Clemens 73 99.0
2 Curt Schilling 46 61.4
3 David Wells 40 39.1
4 Jack Morris 39 35.1
5 Woody Williams 14 24.2
6 Aaron Sele 15 17.5
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/2/2012.

Jack Morris will likely
make it this year.
Sele and Williams drop off the pace pretty early in the discussion. It's surprising how good David Wells looks when compared to Jack Morris, while Morris might be inducted this year and Wells could drop off the ballot.

As we'll see in a few minutes, when looking at Average Game Score over the course of their careers, David Wells does not have a good case. It's even just below Woody Williams.

I'm not the biggest fan in the world of Game Score and would manipulate the formula a little bit out of personal preference, but these discussions are nurtured by different perspectives. There are plenty of places to go online and read Hall of Fame cases for and against certain players. At this brief moment in December, 2012, we'd like to take a look at how these 6 players compare with history, as gauged by Bill James' Game Score.

Baseball-Reference defines Game Score as, "a value created by Bill James that evaluates how good a pitcher's start was.

Start with 50 points. Add 1 point for each out recorded, (or 3 points per inning). Add 2 points for each inning completed after the 4th. Add 1 point for each strikeout. Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed. Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed. Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed. Subtract 1 point for each walk."

It basically rewards starting pitchers for strikeouts and going deep into games while liming runs and base runners.

Five Hundred Forty Five (545) players since 1918 have started at least 200 Major League games. There are a few surprises as we look back in time, by average Game Score.

Rk Player GmScA GS
1 Sandy Koufax 62.8 314
2 Pedro Martinez 61.3 409
3 Bob Gibson 61.0 482
4 Tom Seaver 60.3 647
5 Randy Johnson 59.9 603
6 Nolan Ryan 59.8 773
7 J.R. Richard 59.6 221
8 Andy Messersmith 59.3 295
9 Juan Marichal 59.2 457
10 Roger Clemens 59.0 707
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/2/2012.

Vaulting his name into any conversations on underrated starting pitchers of the 20th century, Andy Messersmith's name stands out 8th. It seems Messersmith is rarely talked about. When he is mentioned, it's because he was one of Baseball's first free agents 35 years ago, allowing him to sign a 3yr/$1M contract with the Atlanta Braves.

J.R. Richard's standing in 6th place speaks to his wild and dominant peak, also about 35 years ago. In a four-year span, 1976-79, J.R. Richard averaged 281 innings pitched in 37 starts per season. His career has an interesting curve, looking at his Strikeout Percentage, which was dominant the first three seasons of his career, good the next four, and world class once again the final 3 years.

J.R. Richard Strikeout Percentage
Year Age Tm SO%
1971 21 HOU 30.2%
1972 22 HOU 22.2%
1973 23 HOU 25.3%
1974 24 HOU 15.1%
1975 25 HOU 19.5%
1976 26 HOU 17.6%
1977 27 HOU 19.6%
1978 28 HOU 26.7%
1979 29 HOU 26.6%
1980 30 HOU 27.2%
10 Yrs 22.4%
MLB Averages 13.3%
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

Continuing the list of Average Career Game Score for anyone who started over 200 MLB games since 1918, in continuous search for Hall of Fame perspective...

Rk Player GmScA GS
11 Johan Santana 58.9 284
12 Curt Schilling 58.5 436
13 Jim Palmer 58.5 521
14 Sam McDowell 58.4 346
15 Don Drysdale 58.4 465
16 Bob Veale 58.1 255
17 Jim Maloney 57.8 262
18 Whitey Ford 57.8 438
19 Mario Soto 57.7 224
20 Cole Hamels 57.6 211
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/2/2012.

Our first sighting of active players, as Johan Santana and Cole Hamels make appearances. Hamels should still have another year or two of prime performance, at least. Santana, on the other hand, probably hopes to settle in to a role of steady above-average production, with occasional feats of brilliance, on those days his change-up can't miss.

Curt Schilling supporters should be pretty jazzed about their guy placing 12th. The Hall of Fame case for Curt Schilling relies heavily on his outstanding record in the postseason: In 19 career postseason appearances (all starts), he has had 3 "bad" starts. His teams have a 14-5 record in his starts, to go along with his 11-2 record and 2.23 ERA.

To put it another way, that actually fits the context of this discussion, Schilling's Postseason Average Game Score was 64, which would put him at the top of the list we are looking through right now, as Sandy Koufax leads way with a 62.8 Avg GmSc.

Embarrassingly, I cannot say that I've ever heard of Bob Veale or Jim Maloney. At least, with recent research I did become aware of Mario Soto's acute dominance in the early 80's.

Rk Player GmScA GS
21 Steve Carlton 57.5 709
22 Gaylord Perry 57.5 690
23 Justin Verlander 57.4 232
24 Don Wilson 57.4 245
25 Felix Hernandez 57.3 238
26 Fergie Jenkins 57.3 594
27 Sid Fernandez 57.2 300
28 Matt Cain 57.0 235
29 Jered Weaver 56.9 207
30 Bert Blyleven 56.9 685
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/2/2012.

"Lefty" was a No-Doubt HoF'er
Steve Carlton won four pennants and two World Championships during a 24-year career spent primarily with the Cardinals and Phillies, before brief stints with Giants, White Sox, Indians, and Twins.

Longevity cost Seaver a better ranking on this list. His average Game Score after the first 20-seasons of his career was 59, placing him near Roger Clemens.

A bunch of active stud pitcher are in this group, namely Verlander, King Felix, Matt Cain, and Jered Weaver. Ot course, this is a ranked list based on a Career Average Statistic. Like with Seaver, as these players begin to deal with aging and increasing ineffectiveness, their Average Game Scores will presumably fall. We shall see if guys like Fergie Jenkins and Bert Blyleven finish with higher career GmSc's than the active players currently ahead of them.

How about that Sid Fernandez! Talk about getting no respect. Sid Fernandez enters Rodney Dangerfield territory, with only 2 Hall of Fame votes his one year on the ballot.

Moving on...

Rk Player GmScA GS
31 Jim Bunning 56.9 519
32 Dean Chance 56.9 294
33 Roy Halladay 56.8 377
34 John Smoltz 56.8 481
35 David Cone 56.8 419
36 Ron Guidry 56.8 323
37 Catfish Hunter 56.8 476
38 Warren Spahn 56.8 665
39 Jake Peavy 56.7 282
40 Don Sutton 56.7 756
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/19/2012.

John Smoltz is a slam dunk Hall of Fame choice because of his brilliance as a starting pitcher, reliever, and postseason performer in both roles.

Roy Halladay has a Hall of Fame discussion for the future, and being in the neighborhood of Warren Spahn helps.

It just dawned on me that we could be here forever if we forget that we are just looking to see where Average Game Score places the six Starting Pitchers on this year's Hall of Fame ballot, among all players who've started at least 200 games since the deadball era.

We saw that Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling ranked 10th and 12th on this list, respectively. Looking at the Top 40 highlighted some interesting names, mostly of active players who've begun what could result in Hall of Fame careers.

Still, to get to the next ranked Starting Pitcher on this year's Hall of Fame ballot, we must plummet all the way down to #125 for Jack Morris.

Rk Player GmScA GS
40 Don Sutton 56.7 756
41 Denny McLain 56.7 264
42 Gary Nolan 56.5 247
43 Mickey Lolich 56.4 496
44 Mike Cuellar 56.4 379
45 Mel Stottlemyre 56.4 356
46 Luis Tiant 56.3 484
47 Vida Blue 56.2 473
48 Greg Maddux 56.1 740
49 Jose Rijo 56.0 269
50 Gary Peters 56.0 286
51 Roy Oswalt 55.8 335
52 CC Sabathia 55.8 383
53 Jon Matlack 55.8 318
54 Juan Pizarro 55.8 245
55 Kevin Brown 55.7 476
56 Steve Rogers 55.7 393
57 Larry Dierker 55.7 329
58 Bret Saberhagen 55.6 371
59 Al Downing 55.6 317
60 Bill Singer 55.6 308
61 Billy Pierce 55.6 432
62 Dwight Gooden 55.5 410
63 Robin Roberts 55.3 609
64 Dave McNally 55.2 396
65 Jerry Koosman 55.1 527
66 Sam Jones 55.1 222
67 Teddy Higuera 55.0 205
68 Sonny Siebert 55.0 307
69 Jose DeLeon 54.9 264
70 John Tudor 54.9 263
71 Phil Niekro 54.9 716
72 Ray Culp 54.9 268
73 Cliff Lee 54.8 280
74 Mike Mussina 54.8 536
75 Joe Horlen 54.8 290
76 Bob Lemon 54.8 350
77 Dan Haren 54.7 286
78 John Candelaria 54.7 356
79 Bob Turley 54.7 237
80 Dave Stieb 54.6 412
81 Mike Scott 54.6 319
82 Camilo Pascual 54.6 404
83 Sal Maglie 54.6 232
84 Tim Hudson 54.5 405
85 Johnny Antonelli 54.5 268
86 Ken Johnson 54.4 231
87 Carlos Zambrano 54.3 302
88 Denny Lemaster 54.3 249
89 Rudy May 54.2 360
90 Chris Short 54.2 308
91 Mike Garcia 54.2 281
92 Josh Beckett 54.1 304
93 James Shields 54.1 217
94 Burt Hooton 54.1 377
95 Dennis Eckersley 54.0 361
96 Fernando Valenzuela 54.0 424
97 Wilbur Wood 54.0 297
98 Stan Williams 54.0 208
99 Ben Sheets 53.9 250
100 Orel Hershiser 53.9 466
101 Bob Welch 53.9 462
102 Marty Pattin 53.9 224
103 Milt Pappas 53.9 465
104 Earl Wilson 53.8 310
105 Larry Jackson 53.8 429
106 Ralph Terry 53.8 257
107 Harvey Haddix 53.8 285
108 Zack Greinke 53.7 231
109 Kevin Appier 53.7 402
110 Steve Barber 53.7 272
111 Don Newcombe 53.7 294
112 Alex Fernandez 53.6 261
113 Mark Langston 53.6 428
114 Fred Norman 53.6 268
115 Jim O'Toole 53.6 238
116 Ramon Martinez 53.5 297
117 Ken Forsch 53.5 241
118 Dennis Leonard 53.5 302
119 Ken Holtzman 53.5 410
120 Bill Hands 53.5 260
121 Claude Osteen 53.5 488
122 Chris Carpenter 53.4 332
123 Jason Schmidt 53.4 314
124 Jimmy Key 53.4 389
125 Jack Morris 53.4 527
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/19/2012.

That's a lot of names. Many great ones, such as Maddux, Greinke, and Appier, and other not-so-inspiring guys, like Carlos Zambrano and Ramon Martinez rank higher than Morris.

The Career GmScA for Woody Williams was actually 0.1 points higher than David Wells. To find them in this setting, we need to more than double our list's size, peeking just below Ryan Dempster to the 260's and 270's...

Rk Player GmScA GS
126 Frank Tanana 53.4 616
127 Rick Reuschel 53.4 529
128 George Brunet 53.4 213
129 Vic Raschi 53.4 255
130 Joe Coleman 53.3 340
131 Frank Lary 53.3 292
132 A.J. Burnett 53.2 340
133 John Smiley 53.2 280
134 Fritz Peterson 53.2 330
135 Joey Jay 53.2 203
136 Dick Donovan 53.2 273
137 Larry Jansen 53.2 237
138 Jack McDowell 53.1 275
139 Hideo Nomo 53.0 318
140 Andy Benes 53.0 387
141 Chuck Finley 53.0 467
142 Doug Drabek 53.0 387
143 Bryn Smith 53.0 255
144 Jim Kaat 53.0 625
145 Al Leiter 52.9 382
146 Charlie Hough 52.9 440
147 Jim Rooker 52.9 255
148 Pat Dobson 52.9 279
149 Orlando Hernandez 52.8 211
150 Eric Show 52.8 235
151 Jim Perry 52.8 447
152 Curt Simmons 52.8 462
153 Javier Vazquez 52.7 443
154 Tom Glavine 52.7 682
155 Frank Viola 52.7 420
156 Joaquin Andujar 52.7 305
157 John Montefusco 52.7 244
158 Mel Parnell 52.7 232
159 Dennis Martinez 52.6 562
160 Bruce Hurst 52.6 359
161 Dock Ellis 52.6 317
162 Jack Sanford 52.6 293
163 Frank Sullivan 52.6 219
164 Ted Lilly 52.5 326
165 Tommy John 52.5 700
166 Ron Reed 52.5 236
167 Gary Bell 52.5 233
168 Bill Monbouquette 52.5 263
169 Bob Rush 52.5 321
170 Barry Zito 52.4 394
171 Tom Candiotti 52.4 410
172 Mike Witt 52.4 299
173 Steve Blass 52.4 231
174 Jim McGlothlin 52.4 201
175 Mike McCormick 52.4 333
176 Johnny Podres 52.4 340
177 Pete Harnisch 52.3 318
178 Juan Guzman 52.3 240
179 Randy Jones 52.3 285
180 Clay Kirby 52.3 239
181 John Denny 52.2 322
182 Mudcat Grant 52.2 293
183 Dave Stewart 52.1 348
184 Mike Boddicker 52.1 309
185 Rick Rhoden 52.1 380
186 Jim Bibby 52.1 239
187 Nelson Briles 52.1 279
188 Bob Buhl 52.1 369
189 Carl Erskine 52.1 216
190 Ron Darling 52.0 364
191 Vinegar Bend Mizell 52.0 230
192 Greg Swindell 51.9 269
193 Ray Sadecki 51.9 328
194 Don Cardwell 51.9 301
195 Billy Hoeft 51.9 200
196 Johnny Sain 51.9 245
197 Kelvim Escobar 51.8 202
198 Rick Wise 51.8 455
199 Jim Lonborg 51.8 368
200 Clyde Wright 51.8 235
201 John Buzhardt 51.8 200
202 Bob Friend 51.8 497
203 Bartolo Colon 51.7 375
204 Andy Pettitte 51.7 491
205 Floyd Bannister 51.7 363
206 Dave Goltz 51.7 264
207 Stan Bahnsen 51.7 327
208 Wandy Rodriguez 51.6 230
209 Bruce Kison 51.6 246
210 Mark Buehrle 51.5 396
211 Darryl Kile 51.5 331
212 Erik Hanson 51.5 238
213 Jerry Reuss 51.5 547
214 Lew Burdette 51.5 373
215 Bob Shaw 51.5 223
216 Freddy Garcia 51.4 344
217 Ervin Santana 51.4 233
218 Bob Ojeda 51.4 291
219 Ed Whitson 51.4 333
220 Joe Niekro 51.4 500
221 Steve Hargan 51.4 215
222 Gene Conley 51.4 214
223 Matt Morris 51.3 276
224 Rick Reed 51.3 245
225 Scott Sanderson 51.3 407
226 Melido Perez 51.3 201
227 Oil Can Boyd 51.3 207
228 Bob Knepper 51.3 413
229 Tony Cloninger 51.3 247
230 Jim Wilson 51.3 217
231 Kevin Millwood 51.2 443
232 Brett Myers 51.2 249
233 Randy Wolf 51.2 368
234 John Lackey 51.2 294
235 Wilson Alvarez 51.2 263
236 Mark Portugal 51.2 283
237 Danny Darwin 51.2 371
238 Chris Bosio 51.2 246
239 Mike Flanagan 51.2 404
240 Larry McWilliams 51.2 224
241 Mike Krukow 51.2 355
242 Larry Christenson 51.2 220
243 Lynn McGlothen 51.2 201
244 Doc Medich 51.2 287
245 Steve Stone 51.2 269
246 Blue Moon Odom 51.2 229
247 Shane Reynolds 51.1 278
248 Denny Neagle 51.1 286
249 Don Robinson 51.1 229
250 Reggie Cleveland 51.1 203
251 Mark Gubicza 51.0 329
252 Tom Browning 51.0 300
253 Doyle Alexander 51.0 464
254 Hal Brown 51.0 211
255 Aaron Harang 50.9 293
256 Chan Ho Park 50.9 287
257 Jim Deshaies 50.9 253
258 Rick Sutcliffe 50.9 392
259 Charlie Leibrandt 50.9 346
260 Bob Forsch 50.9 422
261 Larry Gura 50.9 261
262 Woodie Fryman 50.9 322
263 Ross Grimsley 50.9 295
264 Dick Bosman 50.9 229
265 Vern Law 50.9 364
266 Ned Garver 50.9 330
267 Ryan Dempster 50.8 322
268 Woody Williams 50.8 330
269 Jeff Fassero 50.8 242
270 Buddy Black 50.8 296
271 Bill Gullickson 50.8 390
272 Jim Barr 50.8 252
273 Jack Billingham 50.8 305
274 Dick Ellsworth 50.8 310
275 Joe Nuxhall 50.8 287
276 Bob Purkey 50.8 276
277 Mark Mulder 50.7 203
278 David Wells 50.7 489
279 Andy Ashby 50.7 285
280 Dan Petry 50.7 300
281 Ray Herbert 50.7 236
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/19/2012.

Aaron Sele should be celebrated for playing well enough and long enough to appear on the Hall of Fame ballot. In the context of this discussion, he ranks 400th out of 545...

Rk Player GmScA GS
282 Jarrod Washburn 50.6 300
283 Matt Clement 50.6 236
284 Moose Haas 50.6 252
285 Milt Wilcox 50.6 283
286 Pedro Ramos 50.6 268
287 Brad Radke 50.5 377
288 Ismael Valdez 50.5 288
289 Steve Avery 50.5 261
290 Todd Stottlemyre 50.5 339
291 Tim Belcher 50.5 373
292 Jim Colborn 50.5 204
293 Dontrelle Willis 50.4 202
294 Jon Lieber 50.4 327
295 Ken Hill 50.4 315
296 Zane Smith 50.4 291
297 Dennis Rasmussen 50.4 235
298 Ruben Gomez 50.4 205
299 Bronson Arroyo 50.3 323
300 Kevin Gross 50.3 368
301 Dave Roberts 50.3 277
302 Kevin Tapani 50.2 354
303 Paul Splittorff 50.2 392
304 Jim Hearn 50.2 229
305 Kirk McCaskill 50.1 242
306 Storm Davis 50.1 239
307 Tom Underwood 50.1 203
308 Steve Renko 50.1 365
309 Tom Gordon 50.0 203
310 Scott McGregor 50.0 309
311 Brad Penny 49.9 315
312 Mike Caldwell 49.9 307
313 Tom Brewer 49.9 217
314 Russ Meyer 49.9 219
315 Joe Blanton 49.8 228
316 Edwin Jackson 49.8 204
317 Pat Hentgen 49.8 306
318 Mark Gardner 49.8 275
319 Danny Jackson 49.8 324
320 Bill Wegman 49.8 216
321 Jim Clancy 49.8 381
322 Mike Torrez 49.8 458
323 Carl Morton 49.8 242
324 Jamie Moyer 49.7 638
325 Vicente Padilla 49.7 237
326 Bob Tewksbury 49.7 277
327 Dick Ruthven 49.7 332
328 Geoff Zahn 49.7 270
329 Rick Honeycutt 49.6 268
330 Derek Lowe 49.5 377
331 Mike Hampton 49.5 355
332 John Burkett 49.5 423
333 Bill Bonham 49.5 214
334 Odalis Perez 49.4 221
335 Bill Lee 49.4 225
336 Eddie Lopat 49.4 318
337 Paul Maholm 49.3 216
338 Tim Wakefield 49.3 463
339 Pedro Astacio 49.3 343
340 Jack Fisher 49.3 265
341 Kris Benson 49.2 200
342 Mike Moore 49.2 440
343 Bob Walk 49.2 259
344 Rick Mahler 49.2 271
345 Shane Rawley 49.2 230
346 Jim Slaton 49.2 360
347 Pete Falcone 49.2 217
348 Richard Dotson 49.1 295
349 Murry Dickson 49.1 338
350 Carl Pavano 49.0 284
351 Joel Pineiro 49.0 263
352 Gil Meche 49.0 243
353 Joey Hamilton 49.0 209
354 Bruce Chen 48.9 203
355 Steve Trachsel 48.9 417
356 Bobby Jones 48.9 241
357 Dave LaPoint 48.9 227
358 Ron Kline 48.9 203
359 Livan Hernandez 48.8 474
360 Charles Nagy 48.8 297
361 Doug Davis 48.7 286
362 Russ Ortiz 48.7 266
363 Terry Mulholland 48.7 332
364 Frank Castillo 48.7 268
365 Tim Leary 48.7 224
366 Jon Garland 48.6 330
367 Brett Tomko 48.6 266
368 Jeff Weaver 48.6 274
369 Dave Burba 48.6 234
370 Jim Abbott 48.6 254
371 Mike Smithson 48.6 204
372 Ray Burris 48.6 302
373 Jake Westbrook 48.5 254
374 Kenny Rogers 48.5 474
375 Sterling Hitchcock 48.5 200
376 Walt Terrell 48.5 294
377 Kyle Lohse 48.4 331
378 Rick Helling 48.4 234
379 Paul Byrd 48.3 256
380 Mike Morgan 48.3 411
381 Mike LaCoss 48.3 243
382 Lary Sorensen 48.3 235
383 Preacher Roe 48.3 261
384 Andy Hawkins 48.2 249
385 Eric Milton 48.1 270
386 Chuck Stobbs 48.1 238
387 Miguel Batista 48.0 248
388 Shawn Estes 48.0 281
389 Esteban Loaiza 48.0 333
390 Alex Kellner 48.0 250
391 Steve Gromek 48.0 225
392 Harry Brecheen 47.9 240
393 Jason Marquis 47.8 289
394 Bobby Witt 47.8 397
395 Adam Eaton 47.7 201
396 Cal McLish 47.7 209
397 John Thomson 47.6 212
398 Bill Swift 47.6 220
399 Herm Wehmeier 47.6 240
400 Johnny Schmitz 47.6 235
401 Aaron Sele 47.5 352
402 Jason Bere 47.5 203
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/19/2012.

This road to nowhere basically got us where we started. The only compelling Hall of Fame cases, from Starting Pitchers, on this year's ballots come from Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling. IT's doubtful that either pitcher will get in. Clemens, for being a no-good, dirty, cheating, lying dirt-bag. Schilling for not compiling enough Pitcher Wins, Strikeouts, or friends in the BBWAA, as he is also an ornery type.

Hopefully, we've learned something new along the way. Who knew Andy Messersmith was so good?

If you've made it this far, make sure you reward yourself in some way. You've earned it. Thanks again for reading.

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