Womack: Billy Wagner’s Hall of Fame chances

From SABR member Graham Womack at The Sporting News on November 17, 2015:

Billy Wagner has heard some of the arguments against his Hall of Fame case. Wagner played 16 years in the majors, racking up 422 saves, but partly due to pitcher usage rates for his era, he retired with just 903 innings. Every reliever who’s gone in the Hall of Fame has had at least 1,000 innings, though Bruce Sutter appeared in 192 fewer games than Wagner. Trevor Hoffman, who’s also new to the BBWAA ballot this year, checked out of the majors in 2010 with 1,089 1/3 innings.

“I’ve heard you gotta have 1,000 innings, but I’ve probably got better numbers than the guys that have got 1,000 innings,” Wagner told Sporting News. “Should they be in the Hall of Fame if I’ve got better numbers at 900 innings than they do at 1,000 innings?”

The long-time Astros closer and seven-time All Star presents one of the most interesting cases on the writers ballot this year. If one strictly rates relievers by saves, Wagner suffers as he trails Hoffman, Mariano Rivera and Lee Smith who might get enshrined before him and John Franco, who’s unlikely to ever get close. Many people also still haven’t warmed to the idea of enshrining relief pitchers. The deeper one digs into Wagner’s numbers, though, the more impressive he becomes. He’s already gaining momentum among the sabermetrically inclined.

Read the full article here: http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb-news/4661357-baseball-hall-of-fame-2016-billy-wagner-trevor-hoffman-ballot

Originally published: November 17, 2015. Last Updated: November 17, 2015.