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Is Zack Greinke already deserving to be a Hall of Famer?

Taking a look at Greinke’s HOF odds if he retired today

Detroit Tigers v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

You guys may remember that Theo took a look at Justin Verlander’s Hall of Fame odds, and obviously their statistical profiles have a lot of similarities - even to the strange fact that they have IDENTICAL 3.35 ERA’s across their careers.

So we’ll take a similar approach, looking at it as if Greinke’s career ended today, He’s certainly come a long way from his 4th place Rookie of the Year campaign fifteen years ago, but is he already Hall-worthy? If not, how much more does he have to go? And if he is already worthy, what are the chances he gets inducted by the writers (something that has clearly become a separate question over the past few years)?

The Basics

The Hall of Fame is still rather antiquated in the statistics they use in their voting, and wins still play a vital role. This aspect is finally breaking free a bit with introductions such as Blyleven, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Roy Halladay, Mariano Rivera and even Mike Mussina. But there have been some notable exceptions to this progress with players like Roy Oswalt, Johan Santana and Bret Saberhagen who fell off after their first ballot.

So where does Greinke stand in the traditional stats?

Wins? Greinke officially broke the 200 mark, which definitely helps his overall odds.

ERA? 3.35

Awards? Cy Young winner (4 other times in the top 10), 6-time All-Star, 5-time Gold Glove Winner, 1-time Silver Slugger

Pitching WAR? 65.9 - Although slightly behind Verlander on Pitching, he actually has 70.9 total when you add in his batting.

Strikeouts? 2,584 is short of the “standard” of 3,000

From a post-season perspective, Greinke has not been bad but his 3-4, 4.03 ERA record across 67 IP is not a number that will make or break him either way.

The More Advanced Stuff

“Moving up a little from that in complexity, we have a variety of scales devised by Bill James for his 1994 book Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?. These were designed to cover a variety of Hall-related questions, which I’ll try and briefly summarize here, but if any of them sound interesting, I would definitely recommend checking out the book yourself.

The first are the Black and Gray Ink tests. These refer to leaderboard appearances (black indicating the bold print that indicates a league leader, and gray expanding the circle to include top-ten finishes), which are good for seeing how a player performed in relation to his peers. Baseball-Reference has a summary for which stats are included here.” - Theo

Black Ink - 14 (Average HOFer ~ 40)

Gray Ink - 166 (Average HOFer ~ 185)

Hall of Fame Monitor: 102 (Likely HOFer ~ 100)

Career WAR : 70.9 (Average HOFer 73.2)

Peak WAR: 47.7 (Average HOFer 49.9)

JAWS: 59.3 (Average HOFer 61.5)

Hall Rating : 128 (provided by Hall of Stats, where 100 is the average HOFer adjusted to era)


Interestingly, I came into this article thinking that Greinke was an open and shut case when I first looked at the identical ERA to Verlander across a very similar number of innings. He did have an insane peak year when he won the Cy Young and has been an ace but has not lead the league on a regular basis in any of the “important stats”.

Based on the “more advanced stuff” he seemingly falls just short in basically every category other than Hall Rating (although he narrowly edges past Hall of Fame Monitor). This was a bit surprising to me honestly, but that’s the fun of doing the research on these articles.

Personally, I think if he decided to hang it up today, he gets in. I don’t think he makes it on the first ballot, I think it would take a few years of him on the ballot, but he’s at least over the 200 win mark at this point. You have to believe the “standards” the Hall of Fame had are evolving with the changing of times.

The good news is that Greinke won’t be hanging it up today and has not only this year but 2 additional seasons already inked to rack up some statistics.

What are your thoughts? Does he get your vote? If not, what do you think he needs to produce by 2021 to make it?


Is Zack Greinke a HOF if he retired today?

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