Trevor Hoffman retires

And he retires the all-time saves leader (stoopid stat) with 601 career saves.

While I don’t like reliever all that well, it is a role and position of the game that isn’t going away anytime soon. Although Hoffman may be quite overrated, he still had a fantastic career. Will he be a Hall of Famer? No doubt about it. Should he be a Hall of Famer? Let’s take a look.

For obvious reasons, closers compile low WAR numbers. For that reason, most people are probably against their inclusion into the HOF. I disagree. It IS a position and their scale for getting into the HOF should be different than starting pitchers. While a HOF pitcher will generally have a 60+ WAR, I like to look at a reliever’s WAR/200. By scaling their WAR to 200 innings, you can put them on the “same level” as starters. Hoffman’s 22.9 fWAR is clearly not HOF worthy if you treat it the same as you would a starting pitcher. But you shouldn’t do that. His WAR/200 is 4.2. That’s pretty good. Tom Glavine’s WAR/200 is 3.1. John Smoltz is 4.8.

Granted, starting pitcher’s ARE more valuable than reliever’s and typically more talented. But when you put up the numbers of a Trevor Hoffman, it’s clear you have HOF skill and talent. The only reason you’re not seeing success as a starter is because 1) You lack the stamina 2) You lack multiple pitches 3) You dominant in the pen and your team refuses to move you from the position. Those factors should not be held against a dominant reliever.

So yes, Trevor Hoffman should be in the HOF. His numbers are better than current RP in the HOF, including Bruce Sutter and Goose Gossage. Hoffman is retiring with more than a K per inning and a 3.08 FIP. For starters and position players, anything above 3 WAR is considered Wins Above Excellent and anything above 6 WAR is considered Wins Above MVP. For a RP I would estimate WAE would be either 1.5 or 2 and WAM would be 2 or 2.5. I could do further analysis on that, but estimating right now, that would give Hoffman three seasons of WAE and a whopping six seasons of WAM.

From 1996-2000 he had a dominant run, posting five consecutive WAM seasons, posting FIP’s between 2.04 and 2.70, accumunlating 12.5 fWAR (or 6.6 WAR/200!) and a K/9 of 11.0. Impressive.

So Trevor Hoffman is a HOF pitcher. I also want to take the time to talk about Lee Smith.

He has been on the ballot for a long while. He is better than Trevor Hoffman. So if Hoffman gets in, which I assume he will, then it is a shame Smith will probably not be. He threw about 200 more career innings, yet his fWAR/200 is 4.5. Remember, Hoffman’s is 4.2. Smith also finished with a better career FIP, which is 2.93. Smith had EIGHT seasons of WAM and another two seasons of WAE.

Lee Smith and Trevor Hoffman for Hall of Fame.

 

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