Comments on: Active Hall-of-Famers (pitchers) This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Johnny Twisto Sat, 05 Jun 2010 21:38:45 +0000 No-brainer.

By: Andrew Sat, 05 Jun 2010 18:19:09 +0000 What about Kerry Wood his SO/9 is 10.4 and has had a great career.

By: Robert Sat, 05 Jun 2010 00:20:37 +0000 MikeD, you are right on this one when it comes to Rivera. I don't rate relief pitcher results the same as I do starters, but Rivera has a relief record that screams "I'm better than everyone else." We can take any pitcher, starter or reliever, and find premium hitters with good results. That hardly means they're not dominant pitchers.

I just did a quick run on Randy Johnson and picked up selected elite hitters as the original poster did with Rivera.

A. Pujols 11-24
D. Wright 8-19
C. Beltran 9-22 (hmmm, hits Johnson but not Rivera)
J. Reyes 9-20
L. Walker 11-28
M. Tejada, 17-44 (ditto Beltran note above)
D. Mattingly, 16-42 (Donnie Baseball, bad back and all and a left-handed hitter, pretty much owned the Big Unit.)
A. Trammel 8-22
C. Jones 13-36 (and with 6 HRs vs. Johnson, but only 1-6 vs. Rivera.)
M. Vaughn 10-31 (It appears Mo liked Rivera and Johnson)
C. Baerga 12-37
B. Bonds 15-49
J. Gonzalez – .266, but hit 5 HRs against Johnson.

Just because these specific guys have done well against Johnson doesn’t make him any less great because there’s a whole nother list of players he destroys. Like everybody else. Same with Rivera, or any great pitcher.

I think the original poster was trying too hard to prove something that doesn't exist. And throwing out Rivera's good results against Manny and the Big Hurt to come up with the most inflated number he can to declare "it's a resounding .355 (92/259)! He gets lit up against the best!" Well, no, he doesn't. He gets lit up against the hitters you selected, just as Randy Johnson gets lit up against the hitters I selected. If we add the two listx of elite hitters mentioned above, including Durham, they have a .262 BA against Rivera. That's against a greater selection of elite hitters. Seems to be a different story.

By: MikeD Fri, 04 Jun 2010 19:26:05 +0000 JeffW, I have a problem with your methodology as it relates to Rivera. Those are all fine hitters, yet we would expect certain elite-level hitters to show good numbers. Yet, I see you include Carl Crawford as an elite-level hitter, but you don't include a Johnny Damon. The fact you suggested throwing out Ramirez and Thomas, who I would rate as the two best right-handed hitters of the last generation not named Pujols, highlights the problem. Including those two, we can pull another list of quality hitters, all of them All-Stars that include several HOFers and several more to come:

Manny Ramirez 8/38
Johnny Damon 5/28
Miguel Tejada 6/24
Frank Thomas 3/22
Jim Thome 3/14
Carlos Beltran 3/13
Garrett Anderson 3/18
Cal Ripken 3/13
Harold Baines 3/14
Victor Martinez, 3/14
Jim Edmonds 2/11
Jermaine Dye 2/13
Fred McGriff 2/9
Will Clark 2/9
Tino Martinez 2/11
Rickey Henderson 0/5
Paul Molitor 1/5

These names are hitting in the .190's vs. Rivera. I know you stopped at 10 ABs, but I included Henderson and Molitor to make a point. The two HOFers were collectively 1/10 against Rivera. Since he's a closer, he has a lot of players with a smaller number of ABs. In fact, the player with the most ABs, Manny Ramirez, only has 38 ABs, spread over a very long period of time. That's why we can only judge Rivera on his entire body or work. Sure, there are some name hitters who have done better against him, and there is a list of name hitters who haven't done well against him. And, in fact, some of the guys on your list, while they may have hits, they were still anemic. Albert Belle hit over .300 against him, but slugged only .385; A-Rod only slugged .364; Giambi, .273. And I didn't even include on my list Ray Durham, who is 0-26. That from a two-time All-Star who cranked out more than 2,000 hits in his career. Maybe I should have included him since your list included Michael Young, whose career OPS+ is only two points better than Durham's.

Judge Rivera on his entire body of work. Not selected hitters.

By: MikeD Fri, 04 Jun 2010 18:22:44 +0000 Johnny Twisto, I agree regarding Rivera. I've sometimes seen Rivera referred to as a "failed starter," but there just isn't enough information to make that determination, especially for those who know Rivera's story. He was successful in the minors, but his first stop in the majors his arm wasn't quite healthy and he was only throwing 90 mph. Upon his return to the majors, he was throwing 96 and threw a one- or two-hitter over 8 innings against the first team he faced. He bounced back and forth, mostly rotting in the pen for the rest of '95 season, until he was discovered again in the bullpen during the playoffs agains the Mariners. If Showalter had gone to Rivera just a little earlier, history would have been changed, at leats as far as Showalter is concerned. The Joe Torre era never would have arrived. The Yankees saw what he could do and left him in the pen. Considering what an exceptional athlete Rivera is, his competitive natue, and the fact that he can repeat his delivery as well as any one in the game leading to exceptional control, throw in his unhittable cutter, and you'd have one fine starting pitcher. Rivera had an excellent change-up and a decent curve, which he shelved as a closer. The Yankees gained a great closer, but I think the odds are good that they lost one or two Cy Young Award-winning seasons from Rivera as a starter. The same, btw, may be true of Billy Wagner. He should have been allowed to fail as a starter. His numbers suggest he'd have been an excellent starting pitcher.

By: Johnny Twisto Fri, 04 Jun 2010 17:53:02 +0000 "The way I have always looked at it is that if Randy Johnson were a closer he would have easily been far more dominant that Rivera, and if Rivera was a starter with his 1 pitch he would have been average."

I'm not sure about this. How much more dominant is it possible to be? ERAs of 1.00, year after year? Some pitchers have been better than Rivera for a couple seasons, and then faded. I'm sure Johnson would have been an excellent closer, but I am very reluctant to predict he could have matched Rivera, let alone exceeded him, since no actual closers have come particularly close.

Now on the other hand, I will agree it is highly unlikely Rivera would have approached Johnson's career as a SP. I expect he could have had a decent career, but it is doubtful he would have been as valuable as he has in his relief role. He did throw more than fastballs when he was a starter.

By: Mike Fri, 04 Jun 2010 17:17:10 +0000 I don't view Pettitte as a HOFer, although he is still building his resume. I'm not ready to rule him out. As for his neutralized pitching record, that is not relevant to the discussion of his making the HOF. HOF voters don't take into account neutralized pitching records. It's nice for us to talk about, but for the discussion of making the HOF, it's not something that will be used to determine if Pettitte makes it. They'll look at his actual pitching record. Deserved or not, he'll also get extra points from the voters for his winning percentage, and pitching on so many World Championship teams and his post-season record.

Pettitte, of course, can make this easy. Watching him over the past couple of seasons and the adjustments he's made, I have little doubt he can play the part of the crafty lefty and pitch effectively into his early 40s. If he reaches 300 wins he'll waltz in. Yet getting there will be a stretch, but I don't think he'll need 300 wins to get his ticket punched. If he can make it up to about 280, which might be a more realistic goal, coupled with what will be 20+ post-season wins (he's already at 18), I think he makes the Hall easy. It's really up to him as he'll need to pitch another three seasons beyond 2010, but indications are he's going to pull a Mike Mussina and head home early.

By: Mike Fri, 04 Jun 2010 17:05:22 +0000 I also just wondered how Pedro's (and to a much lesser extent the older guys) ERA+ numbers would change when you recalcuate just based on other starters ERA and take out the closers' numbers. I would assume they would go up and possibly have Pedro jump above Rivera's 164 clERA+ number?

By: Andy Fri, 04 Jun 2010 16:56:44 +0000 "Since I am a Brewer fan and now hate Trevor Hoffman"

Sorry for your pain, but this made me chuckle.

By: Mike Fri, 04 Jun 2010 16:53:49 +0000 Using JohnnyTwisto's regular closer ERA numbers here are Rivera's closerERA+ numbers:
96-99: 100*(3.41/1.95) = 179 (247 G)
00-04: 100*(3.30/2.28) = 145 (254 G)
05-09: 100*(3.20/1.89) = 169 (331 G)

Career number using those 3 weighted by games: (247/832)179 + (254/832)145 + (331/832)169 = 164 clERA + in 1041 IP.

That would still put him first on the all-time ERA+ list, however these numbers are not park adjusted which I think the leaderboard on this site is. I also think closers are very overrated and overpaid and I hate the save stat, but Rivera still has to be considered a dominant pitcher. I also think he does not belong on the top of the ERA+ board because it still seems misleading to have closers in the same group as Pedro or Grove or Johnson (either one). Not having to pitch tired deep into games or face the same guys 4 times and all of the other factors that benefit closers still need to be considered. The way I have always looked at it is that if Randy Johnson were a closer he would have easily been far more dominant that Rivera, and if Rivera was a starter with his 1 pitch he would have been average.

Since I am a Brewer fan and now hate Trevor Hoffman I wanted to find his clERA+ to see if he has been a below average closer with tons of chances (Ill include his '94 season with the 95-99 group to be conservative since he had a 162 ERA+ in 94.):
94-99: 100*(3.41/2.43) = 140 (372 G)
00-04: 100*(3.30/2.85) = 116 (257 G)
05-09: 100*(3.20/2.69) = 119 (289 G)

Career 127 clERA+ in 952 IP (not park adjusted)