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Comparing Andy Pettitte to Recent Inductees in the Hall of Fame

Please welcome Patrick Gordon as the newest member of the Beyond the Box Score family! Patrick is the managing editor of the Philadelphia Baseball Review and has had work appear in Baseball America, the Las Vegas Sun, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Sports Collectors Monthly. So proud to have him on the team! -jbopp

Earlier this week the Yankees lured Andy Pettitte out of retirement and signed him to a one-year, non-guaranteed minor league deal worth $2.5 million. His resume is solid, but is it good enough for enshrinement in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown?

Earlier this week the Yankees lured Andy Pettitte out of retirement and signed him to a one-year, non-guaranteed minor league deal worth $2.5 million.

The 39-year old last pitched for the Yankees in the 2010 postseason, but was with the club this spring as an instructor. He first expressed interest in pitching again last December and participated in a private bullpen session for team officials last week.

Pettitte told reporters on a conference call on Friday that he feels great and his arm is strong, but he needs to get his legs in shape and thinks it will be another few weeks before he can pitch in an actual game.

Over a 16-year career Pettitte has a career winning percentage of .635. He’s won five championships with the Yankees and was a three-time All-Star. His career ERA+ sits at a sparkling 117.

But, is he a Hall of Famer?

If you look at Adjusted Pitching Runs (APR), Pettitte ranks quite favorably against the 10 pitchers most recently enshrined in Cooperstown. APR is an advanced pitching statistic used to measure the number of runs a pitcher prevents from scoring compared to the league's average pitcher in a neutral park in the same amount of innings. The statistics is similar to ERA+ but offers a quantitative counterpart.

Apr_medium

Note, however, that ERA related figures are only part of the discussion.

Pettitte ranked in the top five in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in a season just twice and has a pedestrian-like 1.36 career WHIP. Digging deeper, if you look at his Base Performance Value (BPV) you see a solid pitcher, but not one necessarily worthy of a spot in the Hall of Fame, especially when compared to the most recent inductees.

Bpv_medium

BPV is a formula created by Ron Shandler that measures a player’s raw skill by using base performance indicators of dominance rate and walk rate. Pettitte’s number is good, but pales to those of recent inductees. (Willis is missing because data is incomplete)

Pettitte’s case for the Hall of Fame will either be strengthened or hindered by what happens to Jack Morris in 2013. I’ve contended for a while that Morris is a decent pitcher, but one that misses the boat when it comes to the Hall of Fame. Hence my logic that if Morris gains induction, so should Pettitte (and Luis Tiant and Jim Kaat, but that’s a whole other story.)

Keep in mind, we haven’t even touched upon Pettitte’s postseason resume and his five championships (though Morris has him beat in Average Postseason Game Score, 55-52.) Perhaps that outweighs his low WAR and mediocre WHIP.

Petvmor_medium

(Patrick is a freelance baseball writer and Managing Editor of the Philadelphia Baseball Review.)

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