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Joe Nathan HOF Chances

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#1 YourHouseIsMyHouse

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 10:25 AM

I have to ask after putting up another incredible season this year. It's hard to believe he had multiple years that were better than anything in Perkins' career. It seems like Mariano is a lock and Joe in his 5-6 year prime was not much more than a step below him. Joe is/was significantly better at accumulating strikeouts than Rivera too. He's 10th in career saves, had five 2.00>ERA seasons, a 1.091 career WHIP, a career 2.76 ERA, and a 9.6 career K/9. It's tough for relievers to get into Cooperstown and he's probably not first ballet, but am I wrong to think he gets in after a few years of eligibility?

#2 Brandon

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 11:13 AM

I think in this day and age he may need to get to 500 saves to get in. Mariano and Hoffman both have over 600 saves. If he has another 2 seasons though I think he will at least have an argument.

#3 gunnarthor

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 11:35 AM

I don't think he gets in. First, it seems that the closers that are in are special in some way - Mo's the GOAT, Sutter had 'invented' the splitter, Eck redefined the role, Goose was the great fireman (in NY). I think another one was famous for his knuckler and ate a ton of innings.

Relievers like Guisenberry (sp), who was really, really good, were generally one and done in the HOF balloting.

Secondly, fair or not, Nathan has come up remarkable small in the playoffs and in the Rangers play in game last year. That'll always be the knock on him unless he changes it. He's also pretty old - his first great season was at age 29. The Twins will probably eventually put him in their HOF but he won't go to Cooperstown.

Great career though.

#4 old nurse

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 12:53 PM

Short but great careers do not get rewarded. Morris was at the top of his game for more years than Nathan and he had trouble getting in. Nathan would need another 5 years of being great. Not going to happen.

#5 nicksaviking

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 04:30 PM

Nathan's career has not been short though.

I've made this argument before, but I think Nathan will end up getting in after some Blylevenian wait and SABR debate. I think he'll get in due to his dominance during his peak years.

Considering the innings pitched, closers generally don't produce a ton of WAR. I know, WAR sucks, blah blah, but considering how few variables there are for a closer, it actually matches up well for this position. A 2.0 WAR is a pretty good season for a closer. Joe Nathan just finished his 6th season with at least 2.8 WAR.

Mariano Rivera is far and away the best closer ever, but as relievers, HOF'ers Rollie Fingers and Dennis Eckersley have a total of five 2.8 WAR years. Combined. Trevor Hoffman only had 3. Contemporary, and possible Hall stumbling block Billy Wagner had 3.

Other contemporary top closers Jonathan Paplebon, Francisco Cordero, Francisco Rodriguez and Jose Valverde have six years with a 2.8 WAR. Combined.

This of course this isn't an end all be all argument but I think it shows how much more dominant Nathan was than his contemporaries save Rivera. He'll likely still need to pitch well a couple more years to pad his stats, as HOF voters like traditional stats too, but he's in the top 10 in saves now, that's a Hall worthy argument in itself. I think 59 more saves to get to 400 would be hard to argue against and barring a complete nose dive in 2014, I think he's a shoe in to get there in 2015. 4th all time in saves is well within the realm of possibility which I think would put his odds very high.

#6 DJL44

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 07:34 PM

Slim left last week. I'm not sure Trevor Hoffmann will get elected.

#7 nicksaviking

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 10:43 PM

Slim left last week. I'm not sure Trevor Hoffmann will get elected.


I'd be pretty surprised if Hoffman didn't get in on the first ballot.

#8 iastfan112

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 08:51 AM

Too short of career at this point, he might be able to alleviate that in another role but as a RP you just don't get enough innings to compensate. If he could put together 2 more dominant years I might change my mind.

Edited by iastfan112, 30 September 2013 - 09:01 AM.


#9 Pius Jefferson

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 05:41 PM

I'd be pretty surprised if Hoffman didn't get in on the first ballot.


With the likely carry over players on his first year. Hoffman may have to wait a few seasons but will get sooner rather than later.

#10 Thrylos

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 06:45 PM

Hard to see Nathan get in if Lee Smith is not in and I cannot see Lee Smith (3rd in total saves) getting in.
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#11 YourHouseIsMyHouse

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 08:47 PM

Hard to see Nathan get in if Lee Smith is not in and I cannot see Lee Smith (3rd in total saves) getting in.


What exactly is Lee Smith better than Nathan in, besides saves (a counting stat)? Honestly, there really isn't anything. Total WAR too, but Nathan has a good chance to get ahead of that. WAR per year on the other hand is overwhelmingly in Nathan's favor.

#12 YourHouseIsMyHouse

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 08:50 PM

Rivera was a pretty late bloomer too. He had his first good season at age 26 while Nathan had his at 28. If Mariano can pitch til he's 43, I don't see how Nathan (38) can't for a few more years. Only 27 saves away from 7th and I think 4th is definitely attainable with 2 more 40 save seasons. I don't see any way he can top Hoffman or Rivera, but I think besting Smith is the highest he can achieve. I know people like to look at saves, but they really aren't the greatest stat to look at.

Edited by YourHouseIsMyHouse, 02 October 2013 - 08:56 PM.


#13 Thrylos

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 08:55 PM

What exactly is Lee Smith better than Nathan in, besides saves (a counting stat)? Honestly, there really isn't anything. Total WAR too, but Nathan has a good chance to get ahead of that. WAR per year on the other hand is overwhelmingly in Nathan's favor.


HOF is about career achievements, thus cumulative vs. rate stats... If one player had the best season ever and then got a career ending injury (like the Bo Jackson premise) he does not belong to the Hall of Fame. There are actually guidelines for HOF voters, which unfortunately are not publicized much...

As far as comparables, and lights out closers for similar career intervals go for Nathan, check out John Wetteland (who arguably was a better pitcher because of the steroid era) and ask whether he is a Hall of Famer. The voters' answer was a loud "NO".

Edited by Thrylos, 02 October 2013 - 09:00 PM.

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#14 YourHouseIsMyHouse

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 09:17 PM

HOF is about career achievements, thus cumulative vs. rate stats... If one player had the best season ever and then got a career ending injury (like the Bo Jackson premise) he does not belong to the Hall of Fame. There are actually guidelines for HOF voters, which unfortunately are not publicized much...

As far as comparables, and lights out closers for similar career intervals go for Nathan, check out John Wetteland (who arguably was a better pitcher because of the steroid era) and ask whether he is a Hall of Famer. The voters' answer was a loud "NO".


Wetteland was not a better pitcher. Nathan's numbers are all around better. WHIP, K/9, saves, WAR (significantly), IP, ERA, and so on. The steroid era is completely irrelevant because you can't prove a reasonable amount of players were taking them prior to 2000 (or the end of Wtland career). As a percent of all major league batters, it's likely pretty small. We'll never more than 100-110 on the Mitchell report. Nathan doesn't have a great case for HOF now, but if he maintains his current form (Always has so far minus injury) for 2-3 years, he should be in. Like I said with saves, 3rd is attainable. If Nathan gets 4.1 more WAR (had 5.1 in the past two seasons combined), he's above every single reliever in the game besides the 4 HOF RP (Including Rivera).

Much of Eckersly's value came from being a starting pitcher prior. As a relief pitcher (age 32-43), he had an ERA of 2.96, 8.8 K/9, .999 WHIP, and 790 IP. Which translates to 16.8 WAR which is much less than what Nathan has produced. In terms of true relief pitchers Nathan could very well end up behind Rivera, Gossage, and Wilhelm only if the former occurs.

Edited by YourHouseIsMyHouse, 02 October 2013 - 09:20 PM.


#15 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 09:45 AM

Nathan is not a HOF'er.
Average HOF RP JAWS: 34.4
Nathan JAWS: 24.4

RP's do not belong in the HOF, IMO, unless they have a remarkable Mo Rivera type career. Even the best of them (again, aside from Mo), just do not have nearly enough impact on the game, IMO, to belong in the HOF.

To me, that would be akin to comparing 4th OF'er stats, and inducting a guy into the HOF because he's was one of the best 4th OF'ers of his era, or a guy was one of the best backup catchers of his era, or a guy was one of the best pinch hitters of his era.

#16 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 07:14 PM

If Nathan was a Yankee, he'd be a first balloter. Since he's not, it will take him a few years, but I think he gets in... and he should. Hopefully, he's enshrined as a Twin.

#17 kab21

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 02:26 AM

Nathan is not a HOF'er.
Average HOF RP JAWS: 34.4
Nathan JAWS: 24.4

RP's do not belong in the HOF, IMO, unless they have a remarkable Mo Rivera type career. Even the best of them (again, aside from Mo), just do not have nearly enough impact on the game, IMO, to belong in the HOF.

To me, that would be akin to comparing 4th OF'er stats, and inducting a guy into the HOF because he's was one of the best 4th OF'ers of his era, or a guy was one of the best backup catchers of his era, or a guy was one of the best pinch hitters of his era.


This is a poor analogy but Nathan would have to be elite for another 5 years to make the HOF. First it should be difficult to make the HOF as a closer. Second he didn't become good until he was almost 30. It's very difficult for any player regardless of position to make the HOF based on only 10 excellent seasons.

#18 Rosterman

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 11:04 AM

It hurt for Nathan to essentially be down for those two seasons, due to his late start as a closer...but if he can sustain his workload into the 40s, yes. Maybe not first ballot, and depends on who else is on the ballot, but he must not only have the saves, but keep the ERA low and the K's high. Something which he may not be able to do. Anything postseason would help his cause.
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