The 2021 BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot will mark the first time in nearly a decade that no first-time eligible candidates are expected to draw close to the necessary 75% of the vote required for election. Nevertheless, the upcoming ballot features a few newly-eligible candidates with intriguing Hall of Fame cases who could build towards eventual election.
Arguably, the first-time candidate with the strongest Hall of Fame case is right-handed pitcher Tim Hudson. During a solid career which spanned from 1999 to 2015, Hudson pitched for three teams: the Oakland Athletics, Atlanta Braves, and San Francisco Giants. Hudson was noted for his mastery of the sinkerball which he used to frustrate opposing hitters by generating weak contact and inducing ground balls. Hudson retired with a career win-loss record of 222-133 and a 3.49 ERA. When Hudson’s career ERA is ballpark and league adjusted, his 3.49 mark translates into a more illustrious 120 ERA+. In addition, Hudson accumulated 57.9 career WAR during his career. Yet, Hudson’s most impressive career statistic is his excellent .625 win-loss percentage, which is the equivalent of a team posting a 101-61 record over the course of a full season. Historically, a pitcher with the combination of Hudson’s 222 victories and .625 win-loss percentage has been voted into the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA or through one of the incarnations of the Era Committee. However, wins have become devalued by some in the baseball community and as a result Hudson may not receive the support he would have from previous generations of voters. With this in mind, I decided to take a deeper look into the validity of Hudson’s win-loss percentage by comparing the righty to seven prominent pitchers in a variety of categories that affect wins and losses. Rather than just rely on the popular traditional and sabermetric methods, I chose to take a different approach by using some alternative advanced metrics and statistics to analyze the pitchers.