Posted by Andy on July 13, 2010
Let's take a look at Kevin Brown's chances for the Hall of Fame. He'll be on the ballot for the first time coming up in January.
I'm going to keep this simple with basic arguments for and against. Please add in your own thoughts and then vote below.
For the Hall of Fame:
- WAR for pitchers of 64.8, which is 34th all-time, and includes 6 individual seasons in the top 3 in his league.
- Career ERA+ of 127.
- He was 96th in career innings pitched, but 38th in strikeouts and only 153rd in walks. Some of that is due to the era in which he played, but the discrepancies in those rankings is impressive nonetheless.
- Posted a truly fantastic season in 1996, with a 217 ERA+ (!!) and 0.944 WHIP over 233 innings. Thanks to only 3.15 runs of support per game, Brown finished with a record of just 17-11, and that includes 3 shutouts he pitched. Neutralized stats have him at 20-5 that season.
- 1998, his only year with the Padres, was even better from a WAR standpoint, when he racked up 8.4 as a pitcher. (1996 registered at 7.5.)
- From 1995 to 1999, Brown was the best pitcher in baseball. He ranked #1 in WAR among pitchers over that period. Only Pedro's incredible 2000 (10.1 WAR) kept Brown from continuing his reign for a 6th year. Brown himself posted another 6.5 WAR that year.
- Played in two World Series, including on one championship team (1997 Marlins.)
- Top 100 all-time in Wins
- 6-time All-Star
Against the Hall of Fame:
- Career record of 211-144 (.594) is good but puts him only 90th in wins and 129th in W-L%. Neutralized record is 205-145 (.586), so no help there.
- Not very durable: started 30 games in only 9 of his 17 full seasons (15 non-strike-shortened) in the majors, although he did tie for 4th in baseball in starts from 1996-2000, trailing the leader (Tom Glavine) by just 4 starts, 172-168. His career ranking of just 96th in innings pitched wouldn't be expected for a guy who pitched until age 40.
- Of his 3 World Series starts, one was decent and two were no good.
- Had only 2 top-5 finishes in the Cy Young voting and no wins. Apparently he was not regarded as the best pitcher in any single season.
- His most similar pitcher is Bob Welch, and in many ways that seems about right.