Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Trevor Hoffman

Hall-of-Famers as Seen Through Player Won-Lost Records: Trevor Hoffman

Trevor Hoffman was elected to the Hall of Fame in his 3rd year of eligibility, 2000, with 79.9% of the vote.

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

Trevor Hoffman
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
25
67
5.54.90.5290.2
0.9
4.64.60.498-0.10.5
1994SDN26
47
4.72.90.6170.9
1.3
2.82.10.5780.40.7
1995SDN27
55
4.83.70.5620.4
0.9
2.52.50.500-0.10.2
1996SDN28
70
9.74.70.6762.3
3.2
4.63.10.5930.61.1
1997SDN29
70
6.64.10.6181.1
1.8
4.23.20.5660.40.8
1998SDN30
66
7.42.40.7522.3
2.9
3.72.20.6240.61.0
1999SDN31
63
6.93.60.6561.5
2.2
3.42.10.6240.61.0
2000SDN32
70
7.74.80.6161.3
2.1
3.92.90.5700.40.8
2001SDN33
62
6.14.50.5770.6
1.3
2.82.90.497-0.10.3
2002SDN34
61
5.43.80.5880.6
1.3
3.02.50.5480.20.6
2003SDN35
9
0.10.10.6440.0
0.0
0.40.40.503-0.00.1
2004SDN36
55
5.53.20.6361.0
1.6
2.71.80.5940.30.6
2005SDN37
60
6.43.50.6441.3
1.9
3.02.30.5720.30.7
2006SDN38
65
6.83.40.6691.5
2.2
3.02.40.5590.20.6
2007SDN39
61
6.13.80.6191.0
1.7
2.92.00.5890.30.7
2008SDN40
48
4.13.20.5620.3
0.8
2.12.10.500-0.10.2
2009MIL41
55
5.02.30.6841.2
1.7
2.81.90.5960.30.7
2010MIL42
50
2.03.60.354-0.9
-0.5
2.22.60.454-0.30.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,034
100.762.30.61816.6
27.4
54.543.60.5563.910.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
12
1.01.70.375 -0.20.70.70.483 0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,046
101.864.00.618
27.2
55.244.30.556 10.5


Trevor Hoffman is second in major-league history with 601 saves. Saves tend to be viewed with disdain among more sabermetic fans as are relief pitchers in general. And, in fact, on a straight value measure, using Player won-lost records, Mariano Rivera is probably the only relief pitcher that I would be inclined to vote into my personal Hall of Fame.

That said, I think that Trevor Hoffman is underrated by many sabermetric fans. For example, I have read a number of online fans who have argued that Billy Wagner was better than Trevor Hoffman. And it's not terribly difficult to understand why. For his career, Hoffman had a 2.87 ERA which Baseball-Reference translates into an ERA+ of 141, while Wagner had a career ERA of 2.31 (ERA+ of 187). Hoffman did pitch 186 more innings than Wagner (1089.1 to 903), but that's a big gap in ERA/ERA+.

ERA matters, but, for relief pitchers, perhaps not as much as you might think. First, there are inherited runners, whose runs are not charged to a relief pitcher but, depending on exactly what base they started on and how they scored, could be at least partly the fault of the reliever. Trevor Hoffman was exceptionally good at stranding inherited runners. For his career, he entered games with 346 runners on base, 70 of whom scored (20%). For his career, Billy Wagner allowed 28% of inherited runners to score (46 of 166).

But perhaps more importantly, while saves are, perhaps, somewhat overvalued, and the rigidity of the closer role based entirely on the save rule is silly and occasionally infuriating, the job of a closer entering a save situation is not really to minimize the number of runs allowed, it's to save the game. Now, the easiest way to do that, of course, is to retire as many batters as possible as quickly as possible. But, at the end of the day, the success of a closer is in the number of wins he closes out.

For his career, Trevor Hoffman had 601 saves, 18 holds, and 76 blown "saves" (blown saves mix situations that, if successful, could have been either holds or saves), a success rate (saves + holds divided by total chances) of 89.1%. Billy Wagner had 422 saves, 13 holds, and 69 blown saves, a success rate of only 86.3%.

And what about the man who broke Trevor Hoffman's career save record? In his career, Mariano Rivera allowed 29% of inherited runners to score (107 of 367) and had 652 saves, 28 holds, and 80 blown saves, a success rate of 89.5%, better than Hoffman's 89.1%, but not by all that much.

Player won-lost records are, of course, designed to measure precisely how a player contributes to his team's victories. For example, the split in blame for inherited runs scoring is calculated precisely based on the exact situation in which the runners are inherited.

The next table shows the top 10 relief pitchers as measured by pWins over replacement level. The table only includes players who earned a majority of their player decisions as a relief pitcher but includes all of their career decisions.

Top Relief Pitchers, ranked by career pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Mariano Rivera126.660.80.67629.642.3
Trevor Hoffman100.762.30.61816.627.4
Hoyt Wilhelm138.7116.10.54410.425.8
Rich Gossage131.3101.90.56311.725.7
Lee Smith111.378.20.58713.325.1
Frankie Rodriguez90.056.90.61313.623.9
Rollie Fingers121.197.30.5559.823.0
John Franco103.874.40.58311.622.9
Joe Nathan78.948.30.62013.822.2
Billy Wagner80.050.40.61412.621.4


When the subject is relief pitchers, it's hard to beat Mariano Rivera. But Trevor Hoffman has a very good case for being the second-best relief pitcher in major-league history.



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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