Hey baseball fans!
I'm officially done with sophomore year of college! In honor of this, it's time I tackle a subject that has been debated by myself, my friends, and my family for as long as I can remember: pitching Hall of Fame legitimacy. And which pitcher will I be using to demonstrate this legitimacy? Justin Verlander, of course!
Unlike the 3,000 hit cub and the 500 home run club, which are filled with hitters from across baseball's storied timeline, certain pitching clubs have been pretty exclusive for quite some time. The best examples of this is the 400-wins club and the sub-2.00 ERA club, which haven't been touched in almost a century. That being said, however, there are pitchers who have been elected into the Hall of Fame over the past 100 years (surprising, I know) based on other benchmarks. Yes, I could go into the advanced pitching statistics, but you know I love going back to the basics.
Winning 300 games is an automatic Hall of Fame bid, but so is 250 and 200 wins, depending on the era and competition. The same thing goes with an ERA lower than 3.00, 3.5, and even 3.75. It honestly depends on the pitcher, but combining some Hall of Fame pitchers' statistics gets you to Justin Verlander's numbers, including his mid-career slump and his late-career resurgence. For a direct visual of JV's stats, click here.
Roy Halladay's Win Total
Halladay will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame this July and it was no shock that he got the required 75% for induction. He totaled 203 wins during his 16-year career and a winning percentage of .659. The key number there is really "16." Halladay topped 200 career wins in his final season, but Justin Verlander already has 200+ career wins (211 to be exact) and he's only played 15 years. Of course, wins is a very controversial statistic at the moment, but you can't deny the validity that the stat still provides. On top of this, Verlander is likely to climb the wins and quality starts leaderboard even more before he retires.
Mike Mussina's ERA
Mussina was the second pitcher elected into the Hall via the BBWAA this past January, but his election was met with skepticism. A lot of people didn't want him in the Hall because of his 3.68 ERA. The people who did want him in the Hall contended that he faced an extremely tough AL East division throughout his entire career. I admittedly was a part of the former group, but Mussina's in the Hall. Verlander's career ERA is a solid 3.37, which also puts him ahead of Halladay (3.38), who pitched in the same era as Verlander and also faced a tough AL East for a majority of his career. Verlander's divisional opponents haven't been as great as that of Mussina or Halladay, but a 3.37 ERA is objectively good, plain and simple.
Verlander is a two-time AL wins leader and a seven-time All Star and he was also an MVP! Additionally, he's on his way to 3,000 career strikeouts, which is an achievement that not even 20 pitchers in baseball history have reached. There are also the intangibles. I bet you that guys like Joe Mauer and Paul Konerko, two borderline Hall of Famers, will tell you that Verlander was one of the best pitchers they ever faced.
In conclusion, there is no single benchmark for pitchers, which is why I don't acknowledge a pitching precedent, unlike I do for hitting. Again, you can get into the more new-age stuff to determine precedence, but I consider the situation to be a case-by-case basis, which makes Verlander a Hall of Famer, even if he retired right at this moment. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."