Thursday, September 23, 2010

Is Tom Glavine a future Hall of Famer?

Tom Glavine will be in the Hall of Fame when he is eligible. The 305 wins alone will get him into the Hall of Fame. The question is: will voters look at other (real) statistics?

Wins are a dumb stat. We all know this. The team wins and loses games. One pitcher does not determine the outcome of a game alone unless that pitcher hits a home run and strikes out every batter he faces.

Felix Hernandez gave up one run in a complete game loss today against the Toronto Blue Jays. Meanwhile, Rodrigo Lopez gave up four runs in five innings in a winning effort against the Colorado Rockies yesterday. Did Lopez have the better game? Of course not.

Glavine's career rate stats are not Hall of Fame impressive: .7 hr/9, 3.1 bb/9, 5.3 so/9 and 1.74 so/bb. In his 1991 Cy Young year (his best season), he had the following rate stats: .6 hr/9, 2.5 bb/9, 7.0 so/9 and 2.78 so/bb. He had a 5.7 WAR that season, which is impressive.

I tweeted the question to Fangraphs baseball writer Dave Cameron:

"Do you think Tom Glavine is a hall of famer? After looking at his career rate stats and other advanced metrics, maybe not?"

He replied back to me:

"An easy yes."

Looking beyond his rate stats: His career WAR is 68.6 with a career FIP is 3.95. His FIP ranks 38 out of 40 pitchers with 4,000 innings pitched (or 118 out of 131 pitchers with 3,000 innings pitched. I'm still having a hard time building a Hall of Fame case from these numbers.

But then I took a look at his WAR rankings. This list does not include seasons prior to 1980, but Glavine ranks 9th. He is just above Andy Pettitte but behind Kevin Brown.

I completely respect Cameron's opinion, and he is my favorite baseball writer. I do have to disagree because I think his case is, at least, debatable.