Posted by Andy on February 4, 2011
Any minute now, Andy Pettitte will be officially announcing his retirement. About a year and a half ago, Pettitte was the subject of one of my very first Hall of Fame polls. Let's see if anything has changed.
Pettitte, originally drafted by the Yankees in 1990, finishes as a member of 5 championship teams (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009, all with the Yankees) and 3 other World Series teams (2001 and 2003 with the Yankees and 2005 with the Astros.)
He was a 3-time All-Star and had 5 top-6 finishes for the Cy Young award.
Pettitte was also named in the Mitchell Report and later admitted to using HGH. I'm still finding it very tough to assess how this sort of thing affects a guy's HOF chances. I tend to doubt that Pettitte used HGH for just the two times he admitted to, but on the other hand I believe that hundreds of other players are guilty of using banned substances but haven't been caught.
Anyway, let's take a look at some basic arguments for and against Pettitte going in the Hall of Fame.
For Andy Pettitte in the Hall of Fame:
- Among pitchers with at least 3000 IP since 1950, Pettitte has one of the best ERA+ values, ranking alongside guys like Eckersley, Carlton, Blyleven, and Gaylord Perry. Quite simply, he's been one of the best starting pitchers of his era.
- Pettitte cracks the top 25 for best record since 1901, minimum 200 decisions. Now I'm not crazy about wins and losses as stats, and Pettitte was on really good teams, but you still gotta give the guy some credit for making the most of what he was given.
- His WAR of 50.2 is good for 77th among pitchers and he's also in the top 50 in strikeouts and WPA (this last stat is post-1950.)
- HOF Monitor of 123 (likely HOFer around 100), HOF Standards of 42 (average HOFer around 50): both numbers are in the top 70 for pitchers.
- Pettitte hold a ton of post-season pitching records, thanks in part to the many berths earned by his teams. But the guy did a lot with his opportunities: in 42 starts he pitched 263 innings, and went 19-10 with a 3.83 ERA. Keep in mind that's against playoff-caliber opponents.
Against Andy Pettitte in the Hall of Fame:
- Pettitte's neutralized numbers show that he benefited tremendously from pitching for really good teams. Converting to an average team he's given a .525 career winning percentage with only 2 seasons above 13 wins (16 in 1997 and 17 in 2005.)
- Those All-Star appearances and Cy Young votes were pretty underwhelming. It's fair to say that Pettitte didn't spend much time rated as the top starting pitcher in the AL.
- Even with a good WAR total, he only cracked 4.0 WAR in a season 3 times.
There are lots of other things I could add, but let's just get to the poll and discussion!