Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Wes Ferrell

2016 Veterans' Committee HOF Ballot: Wes Ferrell

The Baseball Hall of Fame recently announced their 2016 Veterans' ballot for the Pre-Integration Era. The ballot includes 10 names, including "three executives and one of the game's earliest organizers". Player won-lost records don't really have anything to say about non-players. Player won-lost records also don't really have anything to say about players who played before 1921 (and relatively little to say about players who played before 1921). So, I don't really have anything to say about the non-players on the ballot or about 19th-century major-league players Bill Dahlen and Harry Stovey.

But I have calculated Player won-lost records for at least part of the careers of four of the candidates on the Pre-Integration ballot. This article looks at one of these players: former major-league pitcher Wes Ferrell. The first table below presents Wes Ferrell's career as measured by Player won-lost records. The records here have been extrapolated based on the games for which I have play-by-play data to estimate results for those games for which I do not have play-by-play data. The number of games actually played by Wes Ferrell are identified as "Total"; the number of games for which Player won-lost records are calculated are identified as "Known".

Wes Ferrell
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Games
Season Team Age Total Known pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1927CLE191
1
0.00.10.028-0.0
-0.0
0.00.10.092-0.1
-0.0
1928CLE202
0
0.00.00.0000.0
0.0
0.00.00.0000.0
0.0
1929CLE2147
46
16.412.60.5652.3
3.6
14.813.50.5231.1
2.3
1930CLE2253
52
21.515.70.5793.4
5.0
19.515.70.5542.4
3.9
1931CLE2348
48
19.715.70.5562.6
4.0
19.115.60.5512.3
3.7
1932CLE2455
55
21.516.50.5653.1
4.9
18.316.70.5231.4
3.0
1933CLE2561
56
14.915.00.4990.5
1.6
15.813.80.5321.4
2.6
1934BOS2634
23
13.78.30.6243.2
4.2
12.69.30.5772.2
3.1
1935BOS2775
46
26.617.20.6085.6
7.6
24.318.40.5683.8
5.8
1936BOS2861
46
23.117.10.5743.7
5.5
21.018.10.5382.1
3.9
2971
48
14.917.30.463-0.7
0.7
16.017.70.475-0.3
1.2
3031
15
12.214.50.458-0.6
0.6
12.115.20.444-1.0
0.3
1939NYA313
3
1.52.00.436-0.2
-0.0
1.11.70.395-0.2
-0.1
1940BRO322
2
0.20.20.485-0.0
0.0
0.20.30.430-0.0
-0.0
1941BSN334
4
1.11.30.466-0.0
0.1
0.90.90.5110.1
0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season) 548
445
187.4153.30.55022.8
37.7
175.9157.00.52815.029.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career) 0
0
0.00.0 0.00.00.0 0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED 548
445
187.4153.30.550
37.7
175.9157.00.528 29.7


Overall, I am missing 103 games from Wes Ferrell's career within seasons for which I have calculated Player won-lost records. In addition, in the case of Ferrell, I am also missing two full seasons of his career, 1928 and 1929. The loss of 1928 is not a big deal, as Ferrell pitched in only two games that season (16 IP, 0-2, 2.25 ERA). His 1929 season, however, was more significant: 21-10, 3.60 ERA in 242.2 IP.

In addition to being an excellent pitcher - 193-128, 4.04 ERA (good for an ERA+ of 116 per Baseball-Reference) in 2,623 IP - Wes Ferrell also might have been the best hitting pitcher in major-league history. For his career, Ferrell batted .280/.351/.446 with 38 HR in 1,345 PA. In fact, Wes Ferrell out-hit his brother, Rick, who made the Hall of Fame (in 1984) as a catcher. Rick batted .281/.378/.363 for his career and hit only 28 home runs in 7,077 plate appearances.

As measured by Player won-lost records, Wes Ferrell was above average at all four factors of the game: batting, baserunning, pitching, and fielding. The next table shows every player for whom this is true with at least 1.0 Player wins in each factor, sorted by pWins over replacement level (pWORL). The numbers below have not been adjusted to extrapolate missing games.

Factor Winning Percentage
Player pWORL Batting Baserunning Pitching Fielding
Jimmie Foxx
53.2
0.6070.5050.5340.507
Wes Ferrell
31.2
0.5110.5770.5200.558
Ken Brett
10.4
0.5040.5960.5020.577
Charlie Jamieson
8.1
0.5170.5050.5100.502


Raising the limit to at least 1.2 Player wins in each factor would eliminate Jimmie Foxx (1.1 pitching wins, all in 1945) and Ken Brett (0.6 baserunning wins), which would leave Wes Ferrell as, perhaps, the only player in major-league history (since at least 1921) who was meaningfully above average at everything: batting, baserunning, pitching, and fielding. Pretty damn impressive.



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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