Sunday, January 8, 2012

Kevin Brown, not Jack Morris Should be Inducted to the Hall

Tomorrow, we will be finding out which former baseball players are set to be enshrined into one of the most prestigious brotherhoods, the Baseball Hall of Fame. Lately there has been chatter throughout the baseball world regarding Jack Morris and his chances of being elected. Some are saying he should be, while others are saying he shouldn't. I believe that he shouldn't, there's at least one pitcher who deserves to be elected ahead of him. His name is Kevin Brown.

Throughout his career Brown pitched with a number of teams. His best was the '98 season when he was with the Padres, he posted a 9.3 WAR. Let's take a look at these two pitchers and see how they stack up side by side.

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The first thing I notice is that throughout their careers Brown was much better at limiting walks, he walked roughly 2% less batters than Morris did during his career. He also struck out more batters, while doing a good job at attacking the strikezone Brown managed to limit the amount of homers he gave up. He gave almost half of the amount of home runs that Morris gave up. If we take a look at FIP- we can see that Brown was clearly the better pitcher. Add the fact that he pitched during the time where steroids was its' peak and that makes it all the more impressive.

Brown was one of the best pitchers in the league during his tenure as a major league pitcher. Only five other pitchers had totaled more WAR during that span than he did. Those pitchers are as follow: Roger Clemens (133.9), Greg Maddux (110.6), Randy Johnson (105.4), Pedro Martinez (85.4) and Curt Schilling (77.8). Those five pitchers ahead of Brown are regarded as some of the greatest of all-time, combine that with the time that Brown pitched in and that makes his 77.2 WAR all the more impressive.

During Morris' tenure he was the fourth best pitcher according to WAR. The three pitchers ahead of him were Nolan Ryan (78.4 WAR), Roger Clemens (75.7) and Bert Blyleven (59.9). Morris comes in at 56.6 WAR but you can clearly see the pitchers weren't as good compared to when Brown pitched.

One other thing going for Brown is that he had the much better peak. From 1992 to 1998 Brown amassed 42.4 WAR. That averages out to 6.1 WAR per season. During that span he went over 6 WAR three times and reached over 9 WAR once. From 1998-2000 Brown was just as dominant, posting 13 WAR during that span. During that period there were only two pitchers that  were better than Brown in terms of WAR. Those two were Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson, both of whom will be hall of fame members.

Morris didn't really have a true peak during his career. From 1983 to 1988 Morris had 26.4 WAR which turns into 4.4 WAR per season. From 1989-1990 Morris only had 4.3 WAR but from 1991-1992 he had 9 WAR. One could argue that Morris amassed his WAR due to longevity. In 22 years Morris averaged 2.6 WAR per year, putting at a little above replacement level per year. Brown on the other hand averaged 4.1 WAR per season, making him two wins above replacement per year.

In terms of career WAR, Brown is at number 10 overall in terms of pitcher WAR. Keep in mind though that many pitchers don't have WAR totals. That includes every pitcher who pitched before 1974. This is according to fWAR, rWAR does have WAR totals for every pitcher but I prefer fWAR.

Lastly,  Brown pitched there was speculation about him using PEDs but there is no statement proving he used or not. I for one am not sure when the rumors surrounding Brown started so I'd rather not touch on the subject.

Jack Morris was a very good pitcher but Kevin Brown was much better and deserves to be enshrined before the BBWAA even thinks about giving Jack Morris his turn.

1 comment:

  1. Everything looks good until the Morris paragraph. You are confusing "replacement" level with "average" level. 0.0 WAR is replacement level. For starting pitchers, an average pitcher is worth 1 WAR every 80 IP or so. You are right about Morris being a compiler though. I would not have him in my HOF, though I tend to be more of a small-hall guy.

    Second, I like rWAR for retrospective purposes more than fWAR. FIP and ERA normally converge for an entire career, but for individual seasons, I like using rWAR better. It's better to estimate value based on runs allowed instead of FIP. If you're trying to determine what his value should be the next season, fWAR is better, but I don't think anyone would agree that Morris' 1993 season was above replacement level, which is what fWAR says.

    I think Brown was on PEDs at some point(s) in his career, due to his rage and sudden comeback to greatness in 2003. Brown also has his playoff performance working against him, sporting a overall postseason 4.19 ERA, with a 6.04 ERA in 3 WS starts. Morris had 2 bad postseasons, which everyone forgets because of his 2 great ones. This is all a moot point since Brown was voted off the ballot last year with only 2.1% of the vote. Based on his numbers, he is a probable HOFer, but his PED speculation and his general distaste for the media kept him out.