Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Tom Glavine

Hall-of-Famers as Seen Through Player Won-Lost Records: Tom Glavine

Tom Glavine was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, 2014, with 91.9% of the vote.

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

Tom Glavine
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1987ATL21
9
3.33.70.472-0.0
0.3
3.23.80.454-0.10.2
1988ATL22
36
11.414.70.436-1.1
0.1
11.612.40.4850.21.2
1989ATL23
29
11.711.30.5080.8
1.7
11.511.80.4930.41.4
1990ATL24
34
11.913.60.467-0.2
1.0
12.713.50.4850.31.5
1991ATL25
35
16.911.90.5863.2
4.5
15.912.40.5622.53.7
1992ATL26
35
15.611.80.5692.8
4.0
13.311.40.5401.82.9
1993ATL27
36
16.812.50.5732.8
4.0
14.414.50.4990.61.9
1994ATL28
26
10.89.90.5210.9
2.0
10.610.70.4960.41.5
1995ATL29
29
14.19.50.5993.1
4.2
13.610.50.5652.33.5
1996ATL30
39
15.711.90.5682.7
4.1
16.512.90.5612.74.2
1997ATL31
33
14.412.50.5341.7
3.1
15.813.20.5462.23.7
1998ATL32
33
15.310.70.5893.1
4.3
14.311.20.5612.33.5
1999ATL33
36
14.413.60.5151.1
2.4
14.813.40.5251.32.7
2000ATL34
37
14.711.60.5602.3
3.5
14.612.70.5331.62.9
2001ATL35
35
13.312.00.5261.3
2.6
14.714.40.5040.92.4
2002ATL36
37
15.412.50.5522.2
3.6
14.413.90.5091.02.4
2003NYN37
33
11.312.80.469-0.1
1.1
11.811.90.4980.61.8
2004NYN38
35
12.511.90.5131.0
2.3
13.412.00.5271.42.8
2005NYN39
33
13.112.90.5040.7
1.9
13.311.80.5301.42.5
2006NYN40
32
12.511.00.5321.4
2.5
13.213.60.4920.51.8
2007NYN41
35
11.312.00.4850.3
1.5
12.312.90.4890.41.7
2008ATL42
14
3.15.20.371-0.9
-0.5
3.95.10.436-0.40.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
701
279.5249.60.52829.1
54.5
279.8260.00.51824.350.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
36
14.614.70.497 2.213.912.80.521 2.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
737
294.1264.30.528
56.7
293.7272.80.518 52.9


The Sabermetric View of Tom Glavine
There is some controversy within the sabermetric community over how good a pitcher Tom Glavine really was. For strong adherents of DIPS Theory (which propounds that pitchers have no control over balls in play), Tom Glavine is something of an anomaly, and/or the luckiest pitcher in major-league history. For his career, Tom Glavine posted an ERA of 3.54, but a FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching, which measures what his ERA "should" have been based entirely on how many strikeouts, walks, and home runs Glavine allowed) of 3.95.

Baseball-Reference calculates its version of WAR based on actual runs allowed. Based on his excellent career ERA, Baseball-Reference shows Glavine having earned 74.0 career WAR.

Fangraphs calculates its version of WAR based on FIP - i.e., expected runs allowed given a pitcher's peripheral statistics. Because Glavine's FIP was considerably higher than his ERA over his career, Fangraphs shows Glavine as only having amassed 64.3 WAR in his career.
In fact, for more recent seasons (since 2002), Fangraphs goes a step farther and calculates an expected value of FIP, xFIP, that replaces actual home runs allowed with an expected number of home runs, based on the number of fly balls allowed. These data are only available for the last seven seasons of Glavine's career, but over that time period, Fangraphs calculates Tom Glavine as having an xFIP of 4.59 versus a FIP of 4.40 versus an ERA of 3.87.

In an earlier article, I compared Player won-lost records to (Baseball-Reference's version of) WAR. Using the formula I derived in that article to relate Player won-lost records to WAR, I calculate that Tom Glavine earned the equivalent of approximately 86.3 WAR, so I definitely come down squarely on the "Tom Glavine was a great pitcher" side of this particular debate.

Tom Glavine: Above-Average at Everything
Pitching Player won-lost records are calculated across seven different components. The next table defines these components and presents Tom Glavine's (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) career record by component.

Component eWins eLosses eWin Pct.
Component 1: Basestealing4.52.80.616
Component 2: Wild Pitches and Passed Balls3.31.80.652
Component 3: Balls not in Play55.243.30.561
Component 4: Balls in Play127.4126.40.502
Component 5: Hits vs. Outs on Balls in Play36.434.20.516
Component 6: Singles vs. Doubles vs. Triples3.72.90.558
Component 7: Double Plays1.31.50.468


Tom Glavine was above average at every component of pitching.

How unusual is that? The next table lists every player with at least 5 pitching wins and a career Player winning percentage over 0.500 at all seven pitching components for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records (mostly since 1921). Pitchers are sorted by pWins over replacement level.

Pitchers Above Average at Everything
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
Tim Hudson198.8167.523.742.1
Larry Jackson205.6190.915.432.9
Rich Gossage131.3101.911.725.7
Pete Alexander113.191.113.722.3
Rudy May155.2156.72.317.3
Ken Forsch117.3112.35.116.0
Jim Brosnan47.043.51.76.8
Mark Fidrych25.520.52.84.9
Terry Fox24.419.52.04.8
Chuck Taylor28.024.61.64.6
Clay Rapada3.32.80.10.5


It's an interesting list. As expected, it's quite short, only 11 names, but there's actually quite a range of players, from the great to the good to the anonymous.

Tom Glavine: Historically Great at the Little Things
So, Tom Glavine out-performed his peripherals in large part by being good at everything. But Tom Glavine wasn't merely "good" at everything. He was actually great at several things.

The first component of Player won-lost records, Component 1, measures the running game (stolen bases, caught stealing, pickoffs). For his career, Glavine allowed only 226 stolen bases in 6,649 stolen base opportunities with a stolen-base success rate well below breakeven (57%). That works out to one stolen base for every 29.4 opportunties. To put that in some context, for the major leagues as a whole in 2014, players stole a base for every 24.0 stolen base opportunities.

The next table shows the top 10 pitchers in net career Component 1 wins. The data in this table control for the ability of the pitcher's catchers within this component.

Top 10 Pitchers: Net Component 1 Wins
Player Wins Losses Win Pct Net Wins
Gaylord Perry5.93.80.6082.1
Steve Carlton8.16.00.5742.1
Kenny Rogers3.41.50.6941.9
Frank Viola3.92.10.6451.7
Tom Glavine4.52.80.6161.7
Mark Buehrle2.81.10.7111.6
Dolf Luque4.32.70.6141.6
Jim Perry3.31.70.6571.6
Claude Osteen3.41.90.6471.6
Andy Pettitte3.52.00.6411.6


The second component of Player won-lost records, Component 2, measures wild pitches and passed balls. For his career, Glavine threw only 65 wild pitches while his catchers committed only 15 passed balls, in 4,413.1 innings pitched. That works out to a wild pitch or passed ball once every 55 innings. To put that in some context, for the major leagues as a whole in 2014, there was a wild pitch or passed ball once every 21.1 innings.

The next table shows the top 10 pitchers in net career Component 2 wins. As with the Component 1 table, the data here control for the ability of the pitcher's catchers within this component.

Top 10 Pitchers: Net Component 2 Wins
Player Wins Losses Win Pct Net Wins
Luis Tiant2.70.80.7781.9
Greg Maddux3.61.70.6721.8
Bob Friend2.71.10.7081.6
Livan Hernandez2.51.00.7251.6
Dennis Eckersley2.30.80.7491.5
Tom Glavine3.31.80.6521.5
Jamie Moyer2.71.20.6951.5
Mark Buehrle2.20.70.7561.5
Bartolo Colon2.41.00.7101.4
Lew Burdette2.10.70.7461.4


Finally, Component 6 of Player won-lost records evaluates the ability to get/limit extra bases on hits-in-play - i.e., it evaluates a player based on doubles and triples allowed (or made) vis-a-vis singles. For his career, Tom Glavine allowed 3,942 hits in play (i.e., excluding home runs). Within this total, Glavine allowed 786 doubles and 76 triples, meaning that 21.9% of the hits-in-play allowed by Glavine went for extra bases. To put that in some context, for the major leagues as a whole in 2014, 24.0% of hits-in-play went for extra bases.

The next table shows the top 10 pitchers in net career Component 6 wins. As with the Component 1 and 2 tables, the data here control for the ability of the pitcher's teammates (mostly, outfielders in this case) within this component.

Top 10 Pitchers: Net Component 6 Wins
Player Wins Losses Win Pct Net Wins
Jerry Reuss3.62.70.5680.9
Juan Marichal2.92.10.5820.8
Tom Glavine3.72.90.5580.8
J. Kevin Brown2.72.00.5710.7
E. Mike Garcia1.81.20.6040.6
Don Drysdale2.82.20.5610.6
Claude Osteen3.12.50.5530.6
Mel Harder3.02.40.5500.5
Harry Gumbert1.91.40.5790.5
Ted Lyons3.12.60.5450.5


So there you have it: good at everything, great at several things, equals easy Hall of Famer.



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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