Here’s part two of our: “Who else makes the Hall?” debate
The third part of the Braves trifecta, and, to be honest, the one who’s going to have the most difficulty getting into the Hall.
As it stands, Smoltz is 210-143 with an ERA+ of 127 and 3,011 K’s. Now, at first glance, his numbers may look to be similar to our boy Curt Schilling. Low win total, high strikeout total. However, we can’t forget that Smoltz spent four years of his career out of the bullpen. I know you’re thinking “Well, Jim Kaat did that, and you said it didn’t matter.” That’s true. The difference here is that Smoltz was excellent out of the bullpen. In that way, he’s more Eckersley than Kaat. Smoltz saved 144 games in a three-year stretch as the Braves closer, posted ERA’s of 3.25, 1.12 and 2.76 and struck out over a hitter per inning. That’s called domination folks.
If you look at Smoltz, his Black Ink and Grey Ink scores don’t really stand out, at 34 and 193. But, it’s more difficult for a closer to score higher in those categories as they only have one primary stat they qualify in: Saves. Smoltz averaged about 13 wins a season as a starter. He won six games out of the pen, so assume his move cost him 45-50 wins. Now you’d be looking at 260 wins, and probably another 300 K’s. Smoltz took home a Cy Young in 1996 and his postseason numbers of 15-4, 2.65 are staggering.
Patrick’s Call: If voters took anything from the Eckersley nomination, Smoltz would be in. I think he may have a tough time. I’d vote for him, but I think it’s going to take him a few years.
Maybe Moyer just needs to learn to pitch like Mike Mussina?
Just kidding. But the two men will be forever linked thanks to Hank Stienbrenner’s words (Thanks for that, Hank) and Moyer represents a vexing case for the Hall.
Moyer before 30: 34-54. Yes you read that correctly. How does a guy with 34 wins prior to turning 30 even enter a dicussion for the Hall?
Moyer after 30: 207-131. That’s how. And, Moyer has two things going for him that could make his chances even better: He’s still pitching well–11-7, 117 ERA+, on pace for 200 innings–, and he’s left-handed. As the adage says: If you’re left-handed and you can throw strikes, you will always have a place in this league. He may be 45, but what’s to stop him from pitching another 4-5 years and winding up with 280 wins? And if he does, how do you keep a guy with that many wins–and a pair of 20-win seasons–from the Hall?
It’s easier than you think. To start with, Moyer has a career ERA of 4.20, which, even in the AL in the 90’s, isn’t going to cut it. His ERA+ is only 106. Second, he does have two 20 win seasons, but he’s only won 15 or more games four times. And he’s only struck out 2,227 hitters, and never fanned even 160 in a season. He’s never finshed higher than 4th in Cy Young voting, and has finished in the Top 10 only three times. He’s led the league in a major statistical category only once in his career (Win-loss %, 1998). His black ink and grey ink scores of 3 and 95 are not even close to what he’d need. (40 and 185)
Patrick’s Call: This is the difference between being very good for a long period of time (Mussina) and just average for a long period of time. He may give you 275 wins, but Moyer has rarely, if ever, been considered one of the best pitchers in his league. Unless he wins 300–and even then it’s dodgy–he’s got no shot.
Roy Oswalt: On this page for one reason: Through age 29, his most similar pitcher is: Mike Mussina. In honor of that, we’ll take a look at him, even though he’s only 30 and won’t warrant serious discussion for another 5-6 seasons.
At 124-63 with an ERA+ of 137, he’s certainly made a nice first half of his career. He’s won 20 games twice and 19 another time. He’s already had five Top-five Cy Young finishes, and his Black and Grey ink scores are about half of what he’d need, which is perfect for a guy halfway done in his career. His numbers are down a bit this season–with an ERA over 4.00–, but if he gets out of the Bandbox in Houston, that would help.
Patrick’s Call: Oswalt’s a tough one. He’s got a similar-looking career to Mussina’s, and like Moose, I think he’ll need to stay consistent for another 7-8 years to get in. Call him 50-50
Coming in part three: Roy Halladay, Andy Petitte and a surprise guest.