Cooperstown and Tom Glavine Just Don’t Mix

Normally, I wouldn’t even address a pitcher’s won/loss record.  They aren’t useless, they aren’t irrelevant, but they are something that should be overlooked when evaluating a player’s performance.  Front offices don’t look at a pitcher’s wins and losses, so why should we?  Exactly.  They should be nothing more than a fun little stat to add to all the other fun little stats that have use, but are closer to useless than practical.

But 305 wins for a pitcher, well that’s extraordinary.  But an extraordinary number doesn’t necessarily translate into extraordinary performance.

The 305 wins (and 203 losses) HAS to be looked at, and addressed.  Because in 2014 when Tom Glavine is considered for induction into baseball’s most prestigious sanctuary, those 305 wins are going to be discussed, frequently.  Very frequently.  Nearly every old-school writer, former player and most fans of Glavine’s era, are going to be backing him up, using that number: The number 305.

Just to delve into wins and losses for a second if you happen to have come across this article in an old-school mindset:

A pitcher controls less than half of the outcome of a baseball game.  The offense controls 50 percent.  The fielders control some.  And we can add in that a manager affects some of the game too, we just don’t know how much.  So we will just use a manager’s impact, whatever it may be, and include that in the production of the offense, pitching and defense.

So you can see there why wins and losses should not be looked at when determining the quality of a pitcher.

So what is it that makes a Hall of Famer?  Greatness.  Yes, simply put, greatness makes a Hall of Fame player.  They do great things on a baseball field, for a long enough period of time, to allow us as critics to say, “Wow, that guy was a great player.”  A player can actually go through his career without being exceptional at any one aspect of his game, yet still be an exceptional player, a Hall of Fame player, a great player.

Yet, when it comes to pitchers, the guy kinda has to be great at pitching.  Because pitcher fielding is nearly useless.  And a pitcher’s bat is normally about the equivalent of Jeff Francouer’s swings against sliders out of the strike zone.


Tom Glavine was a very good pitcher.  He accumulated 63 fWAR in his career, 74 bWAR, 118 ERA+, 3.54 base ERA.  Very, very good pitcher.  His WAR totals are right in that threshold where Hall of Famers “on the brink” usually sit.  Players that could be looking in, or looking out, based on a little subjectivity and bias from the writers who induct these guys.

But Tom Glavine had a 3.95 FIP.  And if you believe in FIP; that’s not great.  He pitched in the National League, so that FIP includes the pitchers he faced — which are easier to strike out, less likely to walk, and extremely unlikely to go deep.

Two times in Glavine’s career, he struck out more than seven batters per nine innings.  He kept his walks under control, walking 3 per nine throughout his career.  But that’s not “exceptional.”  Neither that nor his strikeouts per nine innings are.

Glavine won two Cy Youngs, and finished in the top-five in voting six! times.  Remarkable, yet equated to the subjective.  I’m not saying he didn’t deserve those awards, I’m just saying that a lot of noise goes into the process of who receives the award.

Dwight Evans was a very good baseball player.  One of the better defenders at the corner and well above average offensively.

Orel Hershiser racked up 204 wins in his career and once went 59 consecutive innings without allowing a run.

As for Tom Glavine, he pitched very well, for a long, long time, on one of the greatest runs by an organization that any sport has ever seen.  He made it to the postseason several times because of the talent of he and his supporting cast.  And during his time in October, he performed incredibly well.  To the tune of a 3.30 ERA in 218 innings.  And that probably meant his opponents were better than average offenses than he faced in the regular season, given that they were good enough to qualify for postseason play.

But listen to some of the deserving  names for the potential 2014 Hall of Fame ballot:

Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, McGwire, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent.

Then you have a few outsiders that aren’t quite in the same caliber: Sammy Sosa, Jack Morris, Rafael Palmeiro, etc.

There are so many more deserving players than Glavine in next year’s class.  But there are clouds overhead with many of them.  And Glavine doesn’t have a cloud following him around wherever he goes.

I expect Glavine to get voted in:  305 wins.  No storm-cloud.  Played for a great, winning organization.  Seemed to be well-liked by anyone that came across him.  Or at least I know of no incidents surrounding him.

This will be why Tom Glavine gets into the Hall of Fame.  Because of very good pitching, along with very well-known variables by anyone that knows anything about Tom Glavine.

But I don’t think he should be inducted.  He was never an exceptional pitcher.  It wouldn’t be an egregious decision by any means.  And he wouldn’t be the worst player in the Hall of Fame

But the most exceptional thing about Tom Glavine’s career was that he, or anyone for that matter, could pitch that well, for that long.

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Joe is a retired blogger who has come out of retirement, and is even better than before. Used to write under the name Statistician Magician, but someone else now has the domain, as they couldn't come up with anything more original. Or original at all for that matter. Red Sox fan. Favorite players all-time are: Pedroia, Mauer, Griffey. Nomar.

49 Responses to “Cooperstown and Tom Glavine Just Don’t Mix”

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  1. Cyril Morong says:

    What was the league average FIP? Was it higher that 3.95? He might have seen it go up in his later years. He pitched longer than most pitchers. What was it until, say, age 37. BR has him 28th in career WAR and he had 5 top 5 finishes in an 8 year stretch. Sinins says he allowed 356 HRs while the league averag was 469. That is very good at preventing HRs and I don’t think his parks helped him much.

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  2. Garbanzo says:

    ERA is significantly more predictive than FIP over large samples, and he pitched in front of almost exactly average defense over his career, so the run suppression is basically all his. He’s no Maddux or Clemens as far as career goes, but the FIP argument is just irrelevant.

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  3. JoeVeno says:

    But Maddux pitched in front of the same defense and had like 11 seasons of 6+ WAR. Why was it so difficult for Glavine’s FIP to be incredibly low for at least a few years to give him that HOF peak?

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  4. IZZY2112 says:

    At a certain point, we need to accept that ERA is what we need to use to evaluate careers. Some players are better/worse than their peripherals. That’s a well known fact. Glavine threw 4400 career innings. Luck should filter out by that point. Also, 73 bWAR isn’t on the brink.

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  5. JoeVeno says:

    But his highest single season fWAR is 5.5 and his highest season of bWAR is 6.1. That 6.1 is the only season he had that was 6+ out of either form of WAR. He was never a dominant pitcher. Just one that was very good for a very long time.

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  6. Ian R. says:

    Here’s a few lines to compare:

    Pitcher A) 397 G, 3027 IP, 210-112, 2.60 ERA, 1785 K, 993 BB, 210 HR, 134 ERA+, 59.6 bWAR
    Pitcher B) 399 G, 3071 IP, 221-109, 2.73 ERA, 2122 K, 607 BB, 278 HR, 129 ERA+, 61.0 bWAR
    Pitcher C) 400 G, 2698 IP, 209-102, 3.15 ERA, 1731 K, 926 BB, 192 HR, 134 ERA+, 55.3 bWAR

    Pretty similar, no? Component-wise they’re different, but once adjusted for era their results are quite similar.

    Pitcher A is Hall of Famer Jim Palmer from 1966 (his first full season) to 1978 (his last good year).
    Pitcher B is Hall of Famer Juan Marichal from 1960 (his rookie year) to 1971 (his last really above-average season).
    Pitcher C is Tom Glavine from 1991 (his first above-average season) to 2002 (his last year in Atlanta, and also his last dominant season).

    (By the way, Palmer has an extra year because he missed the entire 1968 season – a rather unfortunate year to miss for a pitcher, might I add.)

    Glavine’s career rate states are lower than we might like primarily because he was a fairly late bloomer who did much of his development at the major league level instead of toiling in the minors. Take out those early years and his decline phase, and the 12-year core of his career looks much like that of a non-controversial Hall of Famer. Should we penalize him for sticking around long enough to reach 300 wins, something that neither Marichal nor Palmer did? I don’t think so.

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  7. Garbanzo says:

    Nobody should give a crap about his FIP after 4400IP when you have his ERA and two pieces of evidence (zone ratings and his ER/R ratio) both suggesting that he had dead average defense behind him.

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  8. Garbanzo says:

    ERA+/-, not just ERA.

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  9. JoeVeno says:

    His ERA+ is 118.

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  10. Kyle says:

    If you go back and look, Glavine deserved his first Cy Young Award, and had two seasons where he finished in the top five without deserving it. In 1998, Maddux and Brown were both more deserving of the Cy Young Award. Still, Glavine won 20 games 5 times, and was also the MVP of a world series. Take away one post season series vs. the Giants, and he’d have a career postseason ERA of 2.86 and a record of 14-14. That was the season Bonds hit 8 homeruns(while he had only hit one in 106 at-bats other than that season.)

    Why are you even considering people who were busted for PEDs, lied about them, also had been busted for amphetamines, and hurt their teams due to how they were known as the worst teammate.

    Bagwell was better than Frank Thomas. One guy was a great baserunner, above average fielder, and wasn’t a DH for more than half of his career. Thomas could barely get his team into the playoffs. Should Glavine wait one year before getting into the Hall? I’d say so since Maddux, Biggio, Bagwell and Piazza are all no-brainers compared to him. But Glavine is better than Mussina. He was never as dominant as Schilling, whom I’d vote for, but he took too long to hit his prime, and aside from postseason heroics and a seriously awesome WHIP doesn’t have overall numbers that it usually takes to get into Cooperstown.

    Schilling, and his insane k to walk ratio, should get him in. His best seasons destroy Mussina’s best years. You have to be the best pitcher on your team, and Mussina wasn’t the best pitcher on the Yankees. He led the league in wins just once. He also had 224 games where he got 6 runs or more of run support.

    Mussina also got 167 of his wins in those games. All other elite pitchers usually have many more games where their teams only got them 0 to 5 runs of support.

    Times a pitcher got 6 or more runs of support in starts:
    Kevin Brown – 139
    John Smoltz – 142
    Schilling – 145
    Nolan Ryan – 180
    Seaver – 163
    Cone – 146
    Randy Johnson – 220
    Pedro – 146
    Koufax – 90
    Oswalt – 111

    So Mussina doesn’t deserve to be mentioned among the elite pitchers. His best seasons were his second season in Baltimore and arguably his last year in the league.

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  11. Ryan says:

    How big is your Hall of Fame/how many pitchers are included?

    If Sosa is in the next tier, move down Craig “lack luster defense” Biggio, Edgar “No Defense” Martinez, and Jeff Kent is arguably unqualified for the Hall of Fame – nice surface stats, but replacement level much higher in his time frame and had weak glove and poor baserunning…post 18 from this thread discusses the arguments against Kent:

    Excluding postseason play, I agree that Glavine does not stand out “head and shoulders” above this peers, especially with the SP on the ballot (Clemens and all-time great, Schilling/Mussina a small notch ahead of Tommy).
    I don’t see how he can fall outside the Top 50 hurlers of all-time, and arguments can be made for Top 30…JoeVeno, do you have ~50 or more SP you would take before Glavine? Maybe John Smoltz is short too – I see these guys compared frequently against one another.

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  12. Ryan says:

    Kyle, I don’t see Mussina falling outside of the Top 40-50 pitchers, with serious arguments for inclusions in the Top 30…do you have 40-50 pitchers you like better than Moose, and what is you cutoff for elite/hall of fame hurlers?

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  13. JoeVeno says:

    Ian R,

    You can’t just eliminate a pitchers decline phase though because a few other Hall of Famers didn’t really have them. Palmer at least had one season of 6 fWAR and Marichal had 6. Glavine again had zero. And I really wish I could find groundball rates on historic pitchers. Because I’m not solely entrenched in FIP either. It’s just that I have never heard anything about Palmer and Glavine throwing sinkers. Anyone want to expound?

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  14. JoeVeno says:

    Garbanzano (really wish I knew how to reply directly underneath a comment), Glavine falls below Pettitte in WAR. He’s in that Kevin Brown territory, who himself has a decent case.

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  15. JoeVeno says:

    Kyle, Mussina was a better pitcher than Glavine. Not by any significant measure, but better nonetheless. And as for the PED’s, that’s a touchy subject, so I mostly left it alone. Also, if a player should be in on the second ballot (like Maddux)then he should be in on the first one as well. I don’t believe in waiting in regards to HOF voting. And who says you have to be the best pitcher on your team? Mussina was the best pitcher on the Orioles. Randy Johnson was clearly better than Schilling in terms of career. Multiple pitchers can be Hall of Famers on the same team. Unlinekly, but possible. Just look at Maddux/Glavine :)

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  16. JoeVeno says:


    Biggio is in for me, 3 years of 6+ wins (Which is a nice arbitrary cut-off for me)is good enough. And he’s 5th all-time in fWAR among 2B. Kent SHOULD be in that next tier, you are completely right about that. I care nothing about Edgar not playing defense. Doesn’t matter to me if it’s all offense, or if it’s all defense and baserunning. Edgar was a dominant player, even if it was only at the plate.

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  17. Ryan says:

    Hello JoeVeno,

    Ok on Edgar, he is a matter of interpreting where to place the replacement level of designated hitters.

    Why so down on Glavine/who belongs before he does that might surprise me or others?


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  18. Ian R. says:

    Glavine still produced positive value during his decline phase, is the thing. By bWAR (which, again, is a much better tool for historical analysis than fWAR, which has more predictive value), he was at least an average pitcher all the way through his last season in New York, and he was very good in 2004 and 2005.

    What I’m saying is that, in his prime, Glavine was pretty comparable to Jim Palmer and Juan Marichal, two guys who most fans will agree are deserving Hall of Famers, AND he was still an effective pitcher into his early 40s. That looks like a pretty clear Hall of Fame career to me.

    I can see the argument that Glavine is overrated based on his win totals (I’d even agree with that somewhat), and I can see the argument that, given how loaded next year’s ballot is, he might not be one of the 10 guys most deserving of induction (though I wouldn’t go that far). But going all the way to saying he shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame at all is absurd.

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  19. Joe Veno says:

    Shouldn’t be in at all IS absurd. I think he is more borderline than most others think he is. And his lack of the type of peak I look for in a HOF, is what keeps him out in my opinion.

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  20. Joe Veno says:

    Ryan (again), I don’t know that I’m “down” on Glavine as much as I think his 305 wins overrates him. He is a very good pitcher. Kevin Brown, Smoltz, Mussina, and Schilling may all have been better though. The thing is that many aren’t going to vote Schilling in because of his low win total, but he had a higher bWAR than Glavine, had 6 seasons of 6+ bWAR to Glavine’s 2. On a side not: Many are going to vote Schilling in because of other things like the bloody sock.

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  21. Joe Veno says:

    And honestly, if Schilling gets voted in, they should have his statue head talking at all times. I’m sure that’ll be good for business…

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  22. I don’t want Glavine in the HoF because of PEDs. Sure, there is no evidence he took PEDs, but then again there is no eveidence that he DIDN’T take PEDS. And even if he didn’t take them, he still stood by and watched his sport morph into WWE nonsense. Same goes for Jeter, Ichiro, Griffy, etc…

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  23. Dan Rosenheck says:

    A lot of Glavine’s excellent LOB% was his own doing–he was very good at holding runners, which is a real skill that FIP fails to credit him for. And he was a very good hitting pitcher. He’s way above the cutoff for induction.

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  24. Matthew Cornwell says:

    Tom Tango showed us that signal = noise at 3,700 BF for BABIP. Glavine was way past that point (and the r=.5 point for LOB% too). So sample size tells us that RA is way more important for Glavine than FIP. Baseball ref. WAR is much better for pitchers with long careers and FG is better for pitchers with shorter careers. As far as dominance, if we adjust for schedule length in 1994 and 1995, Glavine had five 6+ *tWAR seasons, six 5+ tWAR seasons, nine 4+ tWAR seasons, and 14 3+ tWAR seasons. His top-10 year WAR was over 53. This is a very solid peak. very solid. Very good postseason performer ad well.

    *tWAR includes offense, in which Glavine adds 7.5 WAR. Giving him over 80 BBref WAR for his career.

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  25. Matthew Cornwell says:

    One more thing re: Glavine’s peak/dominance. BBref has Glavine’s tWAA (Wins Above Avergae) 20th all-time. 20th! Even if you take out the offensive component, he would still be in the top 30 all-time in Wins Above Average.

    So Glavine wasn’t as good as the Big 4 or Mussina or Schilling. So?

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  26. Z says:

    I completely tuned out the whole rest of the argument when FIP was used to evaluate a pitcher’s total career. The following things are true:
    1. ERA is more predictive of future ERA than FIP somewhere under the 3 year mark (let alone the career mark)
    2. RA is generally more predictive than both (and takes into account the issue that some pitchers tend to create more opportunities for errors, e.g., ones that put a lot of balls in play).

    So Glavine’s FIP is entirely irrelevant. In the modern era, putting up 4000+ IP with an ERA of about 3.5 is certainly worth HOF consideration and probably induction. All told, he is very similar to Moose, but he pitched longer, his peak was arguably better, and he had an extra quality IP in the postseason (where is ERA was actually 3.3).

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  27. Z says:

    Or, in graphical form:

    Vs Moose: Longer career, better peak. If you like Moose, you should like Glavine better. For my part, I’ve always considered Moose a cusp guy who was agonizingly close and hard to call. Pretty much anyone I could say was a bit better than Moose would make it in, and I personally think the numbers show he was a bit better (or perhaps more accurately, similarly good but much longer).

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  28. Joe Veno says:

    Z, if you want to use bWAR AND include the 7.5 wins from his bat, he still only has 4 seasons of 6+ wins, which is my personal threshold for what a great season is. Arbitrary, yes. But I have to draw the line there. Glavine was never dominant. He was between very good or the lowest form of great that a pitcher can be, if that makes sense. :)

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  29. Matthew Cornwell says:

    That’s fine, but keep in mind that Biggio, Raines, and Gwynn only had three 6+ seasons, and K. Brown, Mussina, Larkin, Alomar, and Ozzie only had 4 too. Smoltz had 2.

    Of course several of these guys (including Glavine) would have one more w/o the 94-95 shortened seasons.

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  30. Matthew Cornwell says:

    Here are all of the players you listed as being “more deserving” plus a few more out of curiosity.

    Bonds – 16
    Clemens – 11
    Thomas – 6
    Schilling – 6

    Biggio -3
    Raines – 3
    Mussina – 4
    Kent – 2
    Bagwell – 5
    McGwire -3
    Trammell – 5
    Piazza – 3 (of course we know the WAR/catcher issues)
    Edgar – 5
    Jeter -3
    Winfield -1
    Molitor – 2
    Lofton -3
    Whitaker -2
    Walker -3
    Ichiro -2
    Rolen – 2
    Chipper -5
    Pudge – 4
    Thome – 2
    Manny R. – 2
    E. Murray – 2

    IF you require more than four 6+ seasons, you must have a very, very small HOF. Glavine holds his own and/or surpasses most of these players in 6+ seasons.

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  31. Joe Veno says:

    I actually use only 3 of 6+ usually, but I am still hesitant to use Glavine’s batting, which would give him a 4th, since AL pitchers don’t have that opportunity. I am kind of torn on that. And I am assuming you are using bWAR for hitters, because fWAR has Jeter at 3, Rolen at 4 and Edmonds who you didn’t mention at 6 (who I’d vote for). I’m a Raines guy. I’d actually vote for several guys on that list. For whatever reason, I’m not sold on Glavine. But it’s not like I think Glavine being inducted would be blatantly wrong.

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    • John Thacker says:

      “I actually use only 3 of 6+ usually, but I am still hesitant to use Glavine’s batting, which would give him a 4th, since AL pitchers don’t have that opportunity. I am kind of torn on that.”

      I think that this is an absurd statement, the equal of refusing to vote for Edgar Martinez or any DH because “NL players don’t have that opportunity to be DHs at the end of their career.” Especially in the case of Glavine, where his batting WAR is enormous compared to other pitchers. He added value. Sure, he was more valuable in the NL than in the AL because of that. But just like many DHs are more valuable in the AL than in the NL.

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  32. Matthew Cornwell says:

    These are BBref numbers since I quoted Glavine’s BBref numbers to keep it consistent.

    I definitely give pitchers credit for batting, esp. when it comes to HOF discussion. I think everything should be on the table for HOF consideration, including postseason, pitcher hitting, etc. If comparing a NL guy vs. a post 1972 AL mostly guy, I can see ignoring it. But not for HOF voting – and 7.5 wins compared to an average pitcher is a heck-of-a-lot to pretend never happened.

    Anyway, the number of pitchers with significant enough ABs dwarfs the number of post-1972 pitchers who stuck mainly in the AL. Right now, at least. When the balance shifts, I will reconsider.

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  33. Spencer Steel says:

    I love advanced metrics, and am sadly old enough to have mailed away for the first couple of Bill James Abstracts, which were on stapled paper.

    I don’t love advanced metrics when they’re used to try and make a case against a 4500-inning, 118 ERA+ pitcher.

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  34. Matthew Cornwell says:

    Advanced metric are very much in Glavine’s favor – so don’t go throwing out you Bill James Abstracts just yet. :)

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  35. awalnoha says:

    Glavine and FIP don’t mix. He always walked guys. He admitted it was his goal to make guys hit his pitch, down and away. Guys put the ball in play in very weak ways when he pitched. In one interview he said I would rather walk a guy with the bases loaded then give in and let him hit a HR or line a double. He stated that I will tell you I’m going to throw you my change up, go ahead and hit it. He basically was a 2 pitch pitcher and still no one hit him. Strike outs are way overrated. The BABIP argument is a little weak because a ball down the middle is more likely to be a hit then a ball off the plate away. These metrics are good to evaluate players but just picking FIP is just as flawed as just picking wins. There are outliers to every piece of data.

    His teams where great because he(smoltz and Maddux) where on them, not the other way around. The knock on the Braves is they never spent on hitting. Their 1b and LF and RF where usually average. He won 20 games 5 times. That is no accident. You can’t argue that he just stayed around long enough to win. Baseball is a game of attrition and many players can not win that game and Glavine did. There are 4 HOF Braves and only 1 is a hitter, Chipper. The other 3 are SPs. Glavine not 1st ballot, but HOF, definitely.

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  36. Tim says:

    Yeah could you explain why you chose FIP? FIP is supposed to be predictive and isn’t as useful looking back, especially with pitchers like Glavine who consistently underperformed their FIP. He threw over 4400 innings so at that point, I think it’s pretty safe to use RA rather than FIP. His RA-9 Wins were 87.6 including six seasons over 6, which seems to be your baseline for a HOF case. And like other people mentioned, he played with a perfectly average defense behind him

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  37. Joe Veno says:

    I’m only getting 4 seasons of 6+, where are you getting 6?

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  38. Matthew Cornwell says:

    RA -9 wins from FG itself. 91, 93, 96, 97, 98′ 00. Of course it does not include the defense behind the pitcher, and even though Glavine did not get amazing career defensive support , did get some good support those seasons. RA-9 I basically what BBref uses, mini the adjustment for team defense.

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  39. Joe Veno says:

    Many good points, made by many smart readers throughout this post. I’ve honestly really convinced myself that I don’t care whether Glavine gets in or not. It’s that close for me. Maybe bWAR is better. But FIP isn’t JUST a predictor. It is also a stat that includes K’s, BB’s, and HR’s allowed, which are obviously incredibly important to how good a P is. Even over a career.

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  40. The Outsider says:

    Joe Veno, I’m trying to decide if I agree with that last statement. I really do think of FIP as only a predictor. I measure how good a pitcher is by how well he prevents runs from scoring. I don’t see how FIP is useful for anything more than evaluating how well he has done that and for predicting how well he has done that.

    If agree that some pitchers consistently post better RAs than FIPs, and we agree that RA is a better predictor of RA over a large sample size, then I don’t really understand how FIP is relevant/important to how good a pitcher is in these cases.

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  41. awalnoha says:

    My argument against FIP is basically that using mathematical models to show behavior has errors or blind spots. The aerodynamic equations for lift predicts that bumble bees can not fly. These equations are good for airplane wings and maybe a large percentage of other flying object but not for all. There’s a crucial difference between a thing and a mathematical model of the thing. Glavine is the bumble bee. For 19 years he seemed to be flying to me.

    I think Glavine and the HOF do mix. I think a discussion over his status is always an interesting topic because he was not “dominant”. But what does that mean. Striking guys out and preventing walks do not make you dominant. Preventing runs makes you dominant. Glavine was pretty good at that for a long time.

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  42. Scott Taylor says:

    Not only will Galvine get in the Hall, but he IS deserving. My issue with Galvine is that, for the life of me, I can’t figure out WHY he is deserving. Why was his career as good as it was? Pithers have a considerable amount of control over 3 things…strikeouts, walks and the home run ball. Glavine excelled at NONE of these. He didn’t stikeout a ton of batters,his control was good but not exceptional and while giving up the home run wasn’t a problem for him, he didn’t prevent it at a superlative level either. How was he as good as he was?

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    • awalnoha says:

      I know BABIP has some elements of luck and defense but judging a pitcher just on FIP is not completely accurate. It is a metric that shows how a pitcher handles 3 things. A pitcher does have control over how well a batter puts the ball in play. While I believe in statistics I think FIP is being over valued and over used.

      For example is a hitter just as likely to get a hit off of a mediocre fastball down the middle compared to fast ball low and away moving off the plate The answer is no but why do we rule out the pitchers ability to change speeds, and hit spots or “not give in to the strike zone”. The thing about Glavine was he never pitched to the center of the plate and his fastball and change up together we’re very difficult to get a good timing on. The argument for FIP with guys that do not locate well is that they probably give up more home runs with fastballs down the middle or give up too many walks with pitches off the plate. For many pitchers, this is a pretty good and valid assumption. If they are not striking out guys and are giving up a lot of walks then on the rest of their pitches are probably in the middle of the zone because of poor locating skills. This leads to more runs scored because of walks and HRs. That is why I think FIP is a good indicator. The one basic assumption in the FIP equation is that if a pitcher allows a lot of contact he is not a good pitcher. That is not the case of all pitchers.

      Glavine understood that he was never going to be the guy to blow the ball by guys. Leo Mazzoni drilled it into the Braves pitchers, throw the ball low and away. No matter what the count do not “give in to the strike zone”. I heard this al the time watching the braves in the 90s.

      Unlike hitters the pitcher does influence runs scored. Hitters can not influence if they have guys on based to drive in runs or if they will score runs because it is dependent on then next hitter. ( I would argue that they have some affect on the situation etch but much less than pitchers but I digress) A pitcher does influence the situation. They face the next batter and the next and the next and so on until they are pulled. FIP ignores the pitchers influence to the sequence of events treating them a lot like hitters which is not exactly correct.

      In my opinion FIP is a good indicating statistic. If someone is having a odd year compared to their norm look at FIP or BABIP but if someone out produces these number then we have to agree that these numbers are not good indicators for this person.

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      • awalnoha says:

        One other comment, I should have said if a pitchers career outproduces FIP then it is not a good indicator of his talent.

        I notice you say he was not an exceptional control pitcher, but this assumes a walk for him was bad. He had exceptional control but he was only pitching to a 6 inch square on the low and away corner of the plate with his fastball and change up and much of the time he was actually throwing the ball off the outside corner trying to get guys to weakly ground out. He rarely came inside and almost never was over the heart of the plate thus low HR totals. I saw him go 3-0 on two consecutive batters with the bases loaded and he walked in 2 runs. At the time I was frustrated but later he said he did not want to come over the plate and give up a double or a HR. The next batter grounded into a double play. He pitched into the 7th, got the win 4-2. Control does not mean low walk totals, it means hitting your spots.

        FanGraphs should interview Glavine and ask him about his still. Also, Mazzoni put out a book about the Braves pitchers and it goes onto this about the whole pitching philosophy.

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  43. Kevin says:

    When a guy’s ERA outperforms his FIP for that long you can basically throw FIP in the garbage. 3.54 ERA in the NL yes, but also during one of the most difficult pitching eras. I think he’d be in my hall of fame.

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  44. MikeG says:

    Lets not also forget that Glavine pitched during the steroid era and was able to put up better numbers than pitchers who are in the Hall and also pitched just before the era began. Also, take into consideration the other things he did beyond the wins and losses (silver slugger, fielding, etc), he an automatic and should yield close to 80%.

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  45. doug robins says:

    Maddux + Glavine + Smoltz = 1 World Championshiop in 14 years = epic fail.

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