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Baseball Analysis Michael Hoban, Ph.D

Part 1 - Career Assessment
The Win Shares System
How to Judge a Career
The 1800/255 Benchmark - Jackie Robinson
The 2400/180 Benchmark - Pedro Martinez and Sandy Koufax
The 1500/150 Benchmark - Mariano Rivera

The 2400/180 Benchmark  -  Pedro Martinez and Sandy Koufax

Michael Hoban, Ph.D.


As I pointed out in the previous chapter, any pitcher who has achieved a CAWS career score of 230 has HOF numbers.   And there have been just 42 such pitchers since 1901.

The question then arises:  What about a pitcher who has not achieved this benchmark but who appears to have had a great (but shorter) career?

One of the most significant contributions of the CAWS Career Gauge is that it has established an empirical method for determining which pitchers who have not earned a 230 CAWS score still have Hall of fame numbers.


Pedro Martinez was elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA in 2015.  But does he have HOF numbers?  Many fans would argue this question in different ways.  That is, they would use different numbers and different metrics to make their case - either pro or con. 

But this is one of those times when it is sometimes helpful to have a single metric that helps you decide whether someone has Hall of Fame numbers.  Something like having the exact tool needed to do a job.  And, in this case, the CAWS GAUGE appears to be an appropriate tool.

Look at the following six pitchers.  The first number is innings pitched during their entire careers, the second is career win shares, the third is the win shares for their ten best seasons and the fourth is their CAWS Career Score.  Note that each has fewer than 2400 innings pitched but a CAWS score of 180 or better. 


                                      IP                  CWS               CV              CAWS


Mariano Rivera           1283                272                  175                  199 

Addie Joss                  2327                191                  191                  191                

Sandy Koufax           2324                194                  190                  191     

Hoyt Wilhelm 2254                256                  168                  190

Goose Gossage           1809                223                  173                  186                 

Dizzy Dean                 1967                181                  180                  180     


Five of these pitchers are in the Hall of Fame and Mariano is a lock as soon as he becomes eligible – and deservedly so since this is quite an accomplishment.  In fact, these are the ONLY PITCHERS since 1901 that I have found who have accomplished this during their entire career – a CAWS score of 180 with fewer than 2400 innings pitched.




For these six pitchers the numbers represent their career totals.  But what if a pitcher had achieved this benchmark at some earlier point in his career?  Logic would dictate that the pitcher in question had accumulated Hall of Fame numbers at that point in his career irrespective of what happened subsequently.  And, of course, this would be correct.


OK, so what about Pedro Martinez?  Would his career up to a certain point reflect these sort of numbers?  If you examine Pedro’s career through 2004 (through thirteen seasons), you will find the following.


                                      IP                  CWS               CV              CAWS


Pedro Martinez         2297                224                  200                  206


This means, of course, that Pedro’s career through his first thirteen seasons would put him at the top of this short list of great pitchers.


Therefore, we can conclude that Pedro Martinez already had Hall of Fame numbers after just thirteen seasons.  And that would put him into the same special category as Sandy Koufax whose career ended after just twelve seasons and Dizzy Dean who really pitched for only ten seasons.  In fact, given the numbers above, a fan might argue that Pedro had a “better career” at that point than either Sandy or Dizzy.


I should note that Roy Halladay became only the eighth pitcher to achieve this distinction in 2010 after just thirteen seasons.   Here are his numbers at that point.


Roy Halladay             2297                194                  183                  186


I should also point out that Clayton Kershaw at the end of 2017 had the following line.


Clayton Kershaw        1934                177                  177                  177 


This indicates that (barring any unforeseen problem) in 2018 Kershaw should become only the ninth pitcher to have achieved this distinction – and he will also have posted Hall of Fame numbers after just eleven seasons.


(There is no reason to be too surprised that some players achieve HOF numbers well before their career ends.   A good example is Albert Pujols who is still playing in 2018 – but who achieved HOF numbers in just his first ten seasons.)



Therefore, only eight pitchers (who did not reach a 230 CAWS CAREER score) achieved a score of 180 in fewer than 2400 innings – AND ALL WHO HAVE BEEN ELIGIBLE ARE IN THE HALL OF FAME.


So, for a pitcher, 2400/180 becomes a Hall of Fame benchmark.

(As we will see in the next segment, Mariano Rivera has also satisfied the 2400/180 benchmark.  But Mo is considered to be a pure relief pitcher and satisfies a different benchmark as well.)

Michael Hoban, Ph.D is Professor Emeritus of mathematics at the City University of N.Y.  He has been an avid baseball fan for over 60 years and has become a serious baseball analyst, since joining SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) in 1998.  He is the author of five baseball books including:  DEFINING GREATNESS: A Hall of Fame Handbook (Booklocker, 2012)   BASEBALL'S COMPLETE PLAYERS (McFarland: 2000) and FIELDER'S CHOICE (Booklocker: 2003). 

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