Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Jim Kaat

2015 Veterans' Committee HOF Ballot: Jim Kaat

The Baseball Hall of Fame recently announced their 2015 Veterans' ballot. One player on the ballot is Jim Kaat.

The first table below presents Jim Kaat's career as measured by Player won-lost records.

Jim Kaat
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1959WS120
3
0.31.10.219-0.4
-0.3
0.30.60.307-0.2-0.1
1960WS121
13
1.73.70.315-0.9
-0.7
2.84.20.405-0.6-0.2
1961MIN22
41
12.413.10.4860.2
1.2
13.211.70.5311.32.3
1962MIN23
48
17.816.20.5241.6
3.1
17.615.30.5351.93.4
1963MIN24
34
10.911.90.4780.0
1.1
10.912.90.458-0.50.6
1964MIN25
42
16.613.70.5492.3
3.8
16.314.30.5321.83.3
1965MIN26
56
18.116.30.5261.9
3.3
17.517.90.4940.82.3
1966MIN27
45
21.015.90.5693.3
4.9
18.917.60.5191.53.0
1967MIN28
45
16.616.50.5020.8
2.2
17.116.80.5050.92.4
1968MIN29
34
13.312.60.5131.0
2.0
12.813.10.4950.51.5
1969MIN30
43
14.814.20.5100.9
2.3
14.915.40.4920.41.8
1970MIN31
51
14.313.20.5191.2
2.4
14.615.50.4840.21.5
1971MIN32
49
16.014.80.5201.3
2.7
16.516.00.5071.02.4
1972MIN33
22
7.34.70.6061.6
2.1
7.75.70.5731.41.9
34
38
12.712.90.4960.1
1.3
12.012.80.484-0.20.9
1974CHA35
42
17.213.00.5702.3
3.7
15.012.30.5491.62.8
1975CHA36
43
15.013.60.5260.9
2.3
17.415.40.5311.22.8
1976PHI37
40
11.812.40.4870.2
1.2
12.812.70.5020.61.6
1977PHI38
36
8.710.90.442-0.7
0.2
8.811.20.441-0.80.1
1978PHI39
26
7.97.80.5040.4
1.0
7.67.80.4940.20.9
40
43
2.82.90.489-0.1
0.2
3.03.00.501-0.10.3
41
53
6.87.00.4950.1
0.8
7.17.50.4870.00.7
1981SLN42
41
3.12.70.5370.2
0.5
2.72.70.498-0.00.3
1982SLN43
62
3.43.90.466-0.3
0.1
3.64.20.460-0.40.0
1983SLN44
24
0.60.90.414-0.2
-0.1
1.52.10.421-0.4-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
974
271.2255.90.51517.5
41.2
272.6268.70.50412.036.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
9
2.02.60.429 -0.01.61.80.464 0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
983
273.1258.50.515
41.2
274.2270.50.504 36.5


Jim Kaat had 283 traditional pitcher wins in his major-league career (and, not coincidentally, a very similar number of pWins). Three players whose careers overlapped with Kaat's by at least a decade also had career win totals in the 280's.

Fergie Jenkins won 284 games in his career. He won 20 or more games 6 consecutive times (and 7 times in 8 seasons), won the 1971 National League Cy Young award, finished in the top 3 in Cy Young voting three other times (1970, 1972, 1974), and was elected fairly easily to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his third year of eligibility.

In contrast, Jim Kaat won 20 or more games only 3 times, and spread them out across a 10-year period (1966, 1974, and 1975) and received Cy Young votes only one time, finishing 4th in 1975 (although he also finished 5th in MVP voting in 1965).

Despite this superficial difference, Jenkins and Kaat are each other's most similar player as measured by Player won-lost records.

The next table compares the career records of Jim Kaat and Fergie Jenkins, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Fergie Jenkins Jim Kaat
Season Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL
 
30.31.1-0.4-0.3
 
131.73.7-0.9-0.7
 
4112.413.10.21.2
 
4817.816.21.63.1
 
3410.911.90.01.1
 
4216.613.72.33.8
70.70.8-0.1
0.0
5618.116.31.93.3
619.510.1-0.0
1.0
4521.015.93.34.9
3820.217.42.2
3.8
4516.616.50.82.2
4021.217.72.7
4.2
3413.312.61.02.0
4322.117.23.3
5.2
4314.814.20.92.3
4021.816.73.4
5.1
5114.313.21.22.4
3924.117.34.6
6.3
4916.014.81.32.7
3618.716.12.1
3.6
227.34.71.62.1
3816.018.2-0.5
1.0
3812.712.90.11.3
4122.814.34.6
6.2
4217.213.02.33.7
3716.614.81.1
2.6
4315.013.60.92.3
3011.211.30.1
1.1
4011.812.40.21.2
2810.310.10.2
1.3
368.710.9-0.70.2
3414.810.32.3
3.5
267.97.80.41.0
3714.914.10.6
1.9
432.82.9-0.10.2
2912.311.80.4
1.5
536.87.00.10.8
196.67.0-0.1
0.6
413.12.70.20.5
3414.014.50.4
1.6
623.43.9-0.30.1
339.011.0-0.6
0.3
240.60.9-0.2-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS664286.8250.926.8
50.7
974271.2255.917.541.2


Certainly, it's easy to see the similarity there. It's also fairly easy to conclude that Jenkins had the better career: more pWins, fewer pLosses, more career pWOPA and pWORL, three seasons (1969, 1971, and 1974) better than Kaat's best season (1966).

The other two players whose careers overlapped significantly with Kaat who won 280-some games were Tommy John (288 pitcher wins) and Bert Blyleven (287 pitcher wins). John - 3 20-win seasons, 2 2nd-place Cy Young finishes - and Blyleven - 1 20-win season, 2 3rd-place Cy Young finishes - seem somewhat closer to Kaat in terms of "narrative" than Jenkins.

Blyleven was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2011 in his 14th year of eligibility. John has not been elected to the Hall of Fame, falling short most recently in the 2014 Veterans' Committee voting. The next table compares Kaat, John, and Blyleven.

Jim Kaat Tommy John Bert Blyleven
Season pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL
19590.31.1-0.4
-0.3
 
19601.73.7-0.9
-0.7
 
196112.413.10.2
1.2
 
196217.816.21.6
3.1
 
196310.911.90.0
1.1
1.01.2-0.1
0.0
196416.613.72.3
3.8
5.27.6-1.0
-0.3
196518.116.31.9
3.3
12.710.11.8
2.8
196621.015.93.3
4.9
15.012.31.8
3.0
196716.616.50.8
2.2
11.511.70.3
1.3
196813.312.61.0
2.0
10.28.11.5
2.2
196914.814.20.9
2.3
13.013.00.6
1.8
197014.313.21.2
2.4
16.615.71.1
2.5
10.510.20.51.5
197116.014.81.3
2.7
13.315.2-0.4
0.9
18.215.42.13.6
19727.34.71.6
2.1
10.79.41.1
2.0
18.017.01.32.9
197312.712.90.1
1.3
13.010.12.0
3.0
18.813.62.94.4
197417.213.02.3
3.7
9.66.32.0
2.6
15.912.81.83.1
197515.013.60.9
2.3
 
15.111.81.83.1
197611.812.40.2
1.2
11.010.90.5
1.3
17.614.41.73.2
19778.710.9-0.7
0.2
16.311.13.2
4.5
13.410.71.52.8
19787.97.80.4
1.0
12.511.01.2
2.2
15.413.41.62.8
19792.82.9-0.1
0.2
15.710.72.7
3.9
12.912.40.81.8
19806.87.00.1
0.8
16.211.12.7
3.9
11.512.8-0.20.7
19813.12.70.2
0.5
8.07.00.7
1.4
8.16.80.81.6
19823.43.9-0.3
0.1
11.710.50.8
1.9
1.31.6-0.10.0
19830.60.9-0.2
-0.1
11.912.9-0.3
0.9
8.98.50.41.2
1984
 
9.510.6-0.4
0.5
14.39.22.73.8
1985
 
5.26.6-0.6
-0.0
17.515.11.53.3
1986
 
4.43.30.6
1.0
17.616.80.72.3
1987
 
11.48.61.6
2.6
16.815.80.82.5
1988
 
9.58.30.7
1.6
11.514.4-1.3-0.1
1989
 
3.24.3-0.5
-0.1
13.99.42.53.6
1990
 
 
6.98.3-0.60.2
1991
 
 
1992
 
 
7.19.8-1.1-0.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS271.2255.917.5
41.2
278.0247.923.6
47.3
291.3260.122.247.9


As with Jenkins, it's fairly easy to see the similarity between the three players, but also to see that Kaat is a fairly clear third among the three.

Still, being a little bit weaker candidate than two Hall-of-Famers (and a third player who I consider deserving), while not a very strong pro-HOF case, is not an actual argument against Kaat's induction. Jim Kaat strikes me as a pretty good borderline for career HOF candidates: if you had a better career than Jim Kaat, you probably belong in the Hall of Fame; if you had a worse career than Jim Kaat, you probably don't. As to where that leaves Jim Kaat himself: I could go either way.



All articles are written so that they pull data directly from the most recent version of the Player won-lost database. Hence, any numbers cited within these articles should automatically incorporate the most recent update to Player won-lost records. In some cases, however, the accompanying text may have been written based on previous versions of Player won-lost records. I apologize if this results in non-sensical text in any cases.

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