Friday, February 20, 2015

Should Wes Ferrell Be In The Hall Of Fame?

He is 161st in career WAR among all players (pitchers included). By my count, there are 215 players & pitchers in the Hall who played in MLB. So that rank of 161 looks good. Click here to see the rankings.

He had some decent peak value. In an eight year period, he had six top 5 finishes in WAR for pitchers, including four 2nd place finishes (and 3 in a row, from 1930-32, trailing Lefty Grove each time).

He also led the AL in WAR for all pitchers and players in 1935 with 11.0. That was a year when Grove, Gehrig, Foxx and Gehringer were all still very good or in their primes. Here is the top 10 from that year

1 Ferrell (BOS) 11
2 Grove (BOS) 8.8
3 Gehrig (NYY) 8.7
4 Foxx (PHA) 8.3
5 Gehringer (DET) 7.8
6 Greenberg (DET) 7.7
7 Harder (CLE) 7.1
8 Appling (CHW) 6.7
9 Myer (WSH) 6.1
10 Vosmik (CLE) 5.9

Since 1920, there have been 33 seasons of 11 or higher in WAR. I count 23 players & pitchers in that group. The only ones not in the Hall besides Ferrell are Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Dwight Gooden and Dizzy Trout (whose year was 1944, a war year).

Ferrell was 5th in ERA+ that year (1935) while not being in the top 10 in FIP ERA. What helped his WAR was the IP total and the fact that he had a 141 OPS+ (.347 AVG, .427 OBP and .533 SLG). His career WAR is 61.6 and 12.7 of that comes from offense. His career OPS+ is 100. Very, very good for a pitcher.

Ferrell was 3rd in overall WAR the next year (1936). His career after age 29 did not amount to much (maybe because of injuries or behavioral issues-Click here to read the SABR biography by Mark Smith). Only 216 of his 2,623 IP came after age 29.

He led the AL in IP from 1935-37. In 1935 he had 322.1 and 2nd place Mel Harder had 287.1. Ferrell had 7 top 10 finishes in ERA+ and 3 in FIP ERA.

I counted about 100 Hall of Famers who trail him in career WAR. Here are the pitchers (if it is not all of them, it is close). The + means they are Hall of Famers and the number in parentheses is numbers of years played.

Early Wynn+ (23)
Stan Coveleski+ (14)
Dazzy Vance+ (16)
Jim Bunning+ (17)
Rube Waddell+ (13)
Joe McGinnity+ (10)
Whitey Ford+ (16)
Mordecai Brown+ (14)
Eppa Rixey+ (21)
Burleigh Grimes+ (19)
Waite Hoyt+ (21)
Chief Bender+ (16)
Sandy Koufax+ (12)
Bob Lemon+ (15)
Hoyt Wilhelm+ (21)
Dizzy Dean+ (12)
Herb Pennock+ (22)
Addie Joss+ (9)
Rich Gossage+ (22)
Jack Chesbro+ (11)
Catfish Hunter+ (15)
Rollie Fingers+ (17)

Now some notable position players who trail Ferrell in WAR

Harmon Killebrew+ (22)
Yogi Berra+ (19)
Hank Greenberg+ (13)
Willie Stargell+ (21)
Joe Gordon+ (11)
George Sisler+ (15)
Bill Dickey+ (17)
Joe Medwick+ (17)
Enos Slaughter+ (19)
Bill Terry+ (14)
Willie Keeler+ (19)
Gabby Hartnett+ (20)
Mickey Cochrane+ (13)
Kirby Puckett+ (12)
Orlando Cepeda+ (17)
Tony Lazzeri+ (14)
Larry Doby+ (13)
Ralph Kiner+ (10)
Jim Rice+ (16)
Lou Brock+ (19)

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