Best Hitting Pitchers of All Time, by WAR

I couldn't help but notice that Yovani Gallardo's WAR (Rally WAR from Baseball-Reference) is already at 0.7 this season. In 44 plate appearances. Yikes. Were that sustainable over 600 PA, we're talking a 9.5 WAR season. Gallardo already has 1.4 career WAR at the plate in 161 PA (that comes out to 5.2 WAR per 600 PA). Small sample, but impressive nonetheless.

That got me wondering who the top pitchers of all time were in terms of offensive WAR (it's technically "Position Player WAR", but Total Zone data doesn't exist for pitchers). Now that Baseball-Reference and it's wonderful Play Index has Rally's WAR, this type of search is possible. Here are the Top 20:

Rk Player WAR PA G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Red Ruffing 13.7 2083 882 1937 207 521 98 13 36 273 97 266 .269 .306 .389 .695
2 Walter Johnson 12.1 2517 934 2324 241 547 94 41 24 255 110 251 .235 .274 .342 .616
3 Wes Ferrell 12.0 1345 548 1176 175 329 57 12 38 208 129 185 .280 .351 .446 .797
4 George Mullin 11.7 1685 615 1531 163 401 70 23 3 137 122 21 .262 .319 .344 .663
5 George Uhle 11.3 1498 722 1360 172 393 60 21 9 187 98 112 .289 .339 .384 .722
6 Don Newcombe 9.0 988 452 878 94 238 33 3 15 108 87 147 .271 .338 .367 .705
7 Bob Lemon 8.6 1330 615 1183 148 274 54 9 37 147 93 241 .232 .288 .386 .674
8 Schoolboy Rowe 8.2 1022 491 909 116 239 36 9 18 153 86 157 .263 .328 .382 .710
9 Carl Mays 8.0 1199 502 1085 113 291 32 21 5 110 66 116 .268 .313 .350 .663
10 Mike Hampton 7.3 845 438 725 97 178 22 5 16 79 47 195 .246 .294 .356 .650
11 Doc Crandall 6.6 1033 500 887 109 253 35 19 9 126 118 94 .285 .372 .398 .770
12 Earl Wilson 6.4 838 405 740 95 144 12 6 35 111 67 271 .195 .265 .369 .634
13 Bucky Walters 6.3 2149 715 1966 227 477 99 16 23 234 114 303 .243 .286 .344 .630
14 Early Wynn 6.3 1903 796 1704 136 365 59 5 17 173 141 330 .214 .274 .285 .559
15 Bob Gibson 6.2 1489 596 1328 132 274 44 5 24 144 63 415 .206 .243 .301 .545
16 Jim Tobin 5.7 884 396 796 81 183 35 3 17 102 80 162 .230 .303 .345 .648
17 Burleigh Grimes 5.6 1685 632 1535 157 380 62 11 2 168 69 241 .248 .282 .306 .588
18 Gary Peters 5.3 875 450 807 86 179 31 7 19 102 29 172 .222 .253 .348 .601
19 Doc White 5.2 1516 548 1283 147 278 22 13 2 75 147 1 .217 .298 .259 .556
20 Reb Russell 5.1 1062 422 976 141 262 48 25 22 172 42 130 .268 .309 .436 .745
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/28/2010.

Red Ruffing is already in the Hall of Fame for his 53.6 WAR on the mound. But he was worth an additional 13.7 wins at the plate! How about Walter Johnson? His 127.7 WAR as a pitcher get a boost from his 12.1 wins at the plate. Interesting to see Mike Hampton crack the Top 10 with 7.3 WAR in 845 PA (or 5.2 WAR per 600 PA).

Where does Gallardo rank all time? He's already moving into the Top 150 hitting pitchers ever. And he's got a long way to go.

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