July 18, 2019

Just How Good is Roy Halladay?

November 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Roy Halladay was just awarded the Cy Young award for the National League for 2010.  He becomes only the fifth pitcher to win the award in both leagues.  The others are Gaylord Perry, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez.

But, even more significantly, would you believe that as a result of his great 2010 season, Roy Halladay has achieved Hall of Fame numbers after just thirteen seasons?

Only forty (40) pitchers since 1920 have posted HOF numbers (according to the CAWS Career Gauge) including the four mentioned above and Roy Halladay.

Halladay had an outstanding season in 2010.  It was his thirteenth season in the big leagues and his record was 21-10 with an ERA of 2.44.  By any measure, this was a great season. But there is something even more special about it for Halladay.  2010 was the season that Roy established Hall of Fame numbers comparable to those of Sandy Koufax, Dizzy Dean, Pedro Martinez and a few other special pitchers.  That is, in 2010, Halladay joined a very select group of only seven pitchers since 1920 (the modern era) to achieve a CAWS score of 180 with fewer than 2400 innings pitched.

Bill James’ Win Shares system is the most comprehensive tool available to understand how good a season a player had.  It includes offensive and defensive contributions and adjusts for all relevant factors.  The CAWS Career Gauge (Career Assessment/Win Shares) uses win shares to measure how good a career a player has had.  The CAWS Gauge is based on a player’s core value (his ten best seasons) plus additional credit for his other seasons.  It is an objective tool which attempts to assess career value.

According to the CAWS Gauge, a starting pitcher would normally need a CAWS score of 235 (and a long career) to be considered to have obvious Hall of Fame numbers.  Only twenty-five (25) pitchers have done this in the modern era. Outstanding pitchers like Roger Clemens (303), Greg Maddux (284) and Randy Johnson (254) do satisfy this criterion.  Of course, trying to figure out how to judge a pitcher who pitched “fewer” innings (for whatever reason) presents special problems.  But it is a worthy CAWS.

In examining the career numbers for all the outstanding pitchers, I began to see certain patterns emerging.  That is, I began to see that only the best pitchers achieved a certain CAWS score in relation to the number of innings pitched.  And this has enabled me to create certain other benchmarks for a pitcher to achieve to determine if he has Hall of Fame numbers (besides the 235 CAWS benchmark).

Consider the following.  I have found only seven pitchers since 1920 who achieved a CAWS score of 180 with fewer than 2400 innings pitched (of those pitchers who have not achieved the 235 career benchmark.)  So, the CAWS Career Gauge suggests that any pitcher who has done this has also established HOF numbers.

Here are those eight pitchers.  IP is innings pitched, CWS is career win shares, CV is core value (the win shares for the ten best seasons) and CAWS is the career score [CAWS = CV + .25(CWS – CV)].

Player IP CWS CV CAWS
Pedro Martinez 2297 224 200 206
Mariano Rivera
1150 241 175 192
Sandy Koufax 2324 194 190 191
Hoyt Wilhelm 2254 256 168 190
Goose Gossage 1809 223 173 186
Roy Halladay 2297 194 183 186
Dizzy Dean 1967 181 180 180

You will note that four of these players (bold print) are in the Hall of Fame and the other three are not yet eligible.  Of course, many fans consider Mariano Rivera and Pedro Martinez to be a lock for the Hall.  The numbers for Mo are through the 2010 season and for Pedro they represent his numbers through his first thirteen seasons (through 2004). As you can see, as a result of the 2010 season, Roy Halladay has now joined this elite group after thirteen years in the majors.

So, congratulations to Roy Halladay for not only winning the Cy Young award but for the more impressive feat of posting Hall of Fame numbers.

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