Friday, May 23, 2014

Was Noodles Hahn The Sandy Koufax Of The Early 1900s?

Click here to go to his Baseball Reference page. His career lasted from 1899-1906. An arm injury ended his career at age 27. Click here to read his bio by Dan Levitt.

What seems impressive about Hahn is how high he ranks in fielding independent ERA adjusted for the league average and park effects. This ranking comes from Fangraphs (they call this FIP-). Here is the career top ten for pitchers with 2000+ IP:

Pedro Martinez 67
Roger Clemens 70
Rube Waddell 71
Randy Johnson 73
Curt Schilling 74
Walter Johnson 75
Noodles Hahn 76
Christy Mathewson 77
Dazzy Vance 77
Lefty Grove 77

So, Martinez at 67 means he was 33% lower than the league average. Hahn was 24% lower. Now he did get hurt and so he did not have the decline phase of his career. But that is still very good. Here is the top 14 through age 27 for guys with 1000+ IP:

Roger Clemens 65
Pedro Martinez 67
Rube Waddell 69
Walter Johnson 70
Tim Lincecum 72
Johan Santana 72
Bert Blyleven 73
Dwight Gooden 74
Christy Mathewson 75
Clayton Kershaw 75
Kevin Appier 75
Noodles Hahn 76
Bret Saberhagen 76
Dizzy Dean 76

So he is either 12th or tied for 14th with Saberhagen and Dean. There were 418 pitchers in this group. So Hahn is in the top 4%.

Hahn had six straight years in the top 6 in strikeout-to-walk ratio, including a 1st and 3 2nds. He had six straight years in the top 3 in WAR for pitchers (from Baseball Reference). He four seasons in the top 4 in ERA+ (which is adjusted for the league average and park effects). And he had six straight years in the top 4 in FIP ERA, including a 1st.


Anonymous said...

1906, not 2006...

Cyril Morong said...

Thanks. I corrected it