Bagwell, Wagner Have HOF Credentials

Bagwell made significant jump in last year's vote; Wagner's career numbers better than all current HOF relievers in several key categories

HOUSTON, TX - Former Astros All-Stars Jeff Bagwell and Billy Wagner are once again featured on the 2017 National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, which was officially released today by the Baseball Writers Association of America. This year will mark Bagwell's seventh appearance on the ballot, while Wagner is making his second appearance. In 2016, Bagwell received 71.6% of the vote, after receiving 55.7% the previous season, marking one of the most dramatic increases in recent memory for any player in a single year. Bagwell and Wagner, who received 10.5% of the vote last season in what was his first on the ballot, are looking to join teammate Craig Biggio, who became the first player to enter the Hall of Fame as an Astro in 2015.

 

Both Bagwell and Wagner were dominant players for extended periods in their respective careers. In addition to being an outstanding hitter, Bagwell was also known as a solid defender and baserunner. Wagner, one of the most dominant and hardest-throwing pitchers ever that routinely hit 100 mph, posted phenomenal numbers throughout his career. Bagwell's hitting statistics and Wagner's pitching numbers are among the best all-time and are superior to many current Hall of Famers. Both players have Hall of Fame credentials.

 

THE CASE FOR BAGWELL

 

During his illustrious career, all spent with the Astros, Jeff Bagwell compiled a .297 batting average with 449 home runs and 1,529 RBI while posting a .408 on-base percentage and a .540 slugging percentage. He is the Houston franchise leader in career home runs, RBI, batting average and walks, and ranks second in club history in games, runs, hits, doubles, total bases, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

 

His .948 career OPS ranks 10th all-time among right-handed hitters and 20th all-time among all hitters. Bagwell remains the only first baseman in NL history to reach the 30-30 club in home runs and stolen bases in a single season, which he did twice in his career. Also, notably, Bagwell played nine of his 15 seasons in the pitcher-friendly Astrodome.

 

During his 15 seasons, the Astros had their most successful run in franchise history, qualifying for the postseason six times while finishing at .500 or above 13 times. The Astros had the third-best winning percentage (.531) in the NL from 1991-2005.

 

In 1994, Bagwell became just the third player in history to win the NL Most Valuable Player Award by a unanimous vote after hitting .368 with 39 home runs, 116 RBI, a .750 slugging percentage, .451 on-base percentage and a career-high 1.201 OPS. Bagwell was a four-time All-Star, earned three Silver Slugger Awards, a Rawlings Gold Glove Award and was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1991.

 

Below is a comparison done by Baseball Reference of Bagwell to an average Hall of Famer:

 

                        Years     ASG            PA             AB            R            H         2B       3B       HR        RBI       SB       BB          BA       OBP      SLG   

HOF AVG          18            6          9032       7944     1326     2402     412    108     216     1219     226     898      .302      .376      .463

Bagwell           15            4          9431       7704     1517     2314      488      32     449     1529     202   1401     .297      .408     .540

 

BAGWELL BY THE NUMBERS

**.948 career OPS ranks 20th in Major League history and 10th among right-handed hitters (min. 6000 PA).

**.408 career on-base percentage ranks T-14th all-time among right-handed hitters and 10th all-time among first basemen (4th among RHH first basemen).

**One of just 11 players in baseball history to hit at least 400 home runs while compiling a .408-or-higher on-base percentage.

**Only player in history to record 30 home runs, 100 RBI, 100 runs scored and 100 walks in six consecutive seasons (1996-2001).

**Only first baseman in NL history to reach the 30-30 club in home runs and stolen bases, and the only first baseman in ML history to reach this milestone twice in a career.

**One of 25 players in Major League history to win both the Rookie of the Year (1991) and Most Valuable Player (1994) awards.

**Only first baseman in ML history and one of 13 players all-time to reach 400 home runs and 200 stolen bases.

**One of six players in history to collect 30 home runs, 100 RBI and 100 runs scored in six consecutive seasons (1996-2001). Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols are the others.

**.297 career average ranks 19th all-time among players with 400 home runs, and 11th all-time among right-handed hitters with 400 home runs.

**Registered an OPS above 1.000 in five different seasons.

**Played 162 games in a season four times in his career; played 156 or more games in a season nine times.

**Led NL first basemen in assists five times.

ACCOLADES

**NL Rookie of the Year in 1991.

**NL MVP in 1994. Third NL MVP ever by a unanimous vote.

**Four-time All-Star.

**Three Silver Slugger Awards.

**NL Gold Glove Award in 1994.

**Five-time NL Player of the Month winner; Six-time NL Player of the Week winner.

BAGWELL AMONGST HIS PEERS (1991-2005)

**1,529 RBI ranked second in the Majors and first among right-handed hitters.

**1,517 runs scored ranked third in the Majors.

**Ranked third in the Majors in hits (2,314), walks (1,401) and extra-base hits (969).

**Ranked fifth in the Majors in home runs (449) and games played (2,150).

**Reached 100 RBI eight times, 100 runs scored nine times, 30 home runs eight times, 100 walks seven times, 1.000 OPS four times, .300 batting average six times.

**Finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting five times.

SOLID DECADE (1994-2003)

**From 1994-2003, led all first basemen in hits, runs, walks, extra-base hits, doubles and stolen bases, ranked second in games and RBI and third in home runs.

ADVANCED STATISTICS

**Using Baseball Reference's Wins Above Replacement metric, Bagwell ranks ahead of many Hall of Famers with his 79.6 Wins Above Replacement for his career (ranks 35th all-time among all players). An average Hall of Fame first baseman has a 57.6 WAR.

**Bagwell rates as a 59 on Bill James' Hall of Fame Standards, which determines how well a player's career statistics match up to the typical standards of a Hall of Famer. A score of 50 represents the career of an average Hall of Fame hitter.

 

THE CASE FOR WAGNER

 

During his 16-year career, Billy Wagner was one of the hardest-throwing and most dominant closers in Major League history. His career statistics top those of current Hall of Fame relievers in virtually every key category. In his 903.0 career innings pitched, Wagner allowed just 601 hits while tallying 1,196 strikeouts. Additional evidence of Wagner's dominance are his 11.92 SO/9 innings pitched ratio and .187 opponents batting average, both of which are, by far, the best career totals of ANY pitcher in Major League history in those categories (min. 900 IP). His 1.00 career WHIP is second-best all-time among all relievers (min. 900 IP).   

 

A seven-time All-Star, Wagner's 422 career saves are considerably more than any current Hall of Fame reliever. His 85.9 career save percentage and his 2.31 career ERA are also better than any Hall of Fame reliever.

 

Wagner had several stellar seasons, with one of his most memorable occurring in 1999. That season, he had 39 saves in 42 chances with a 1.57 ERA while punching out 124 batters in 74.2 innings pitched and allowing just 35 hits. His .135 opponents batting average and 14.95 SO/9 innings pitched totals were the best in Major League history for a single season at the time, while his 0.78 WHIP was fourth-best in ML history. His 1999 campaign was unquestionably one of the most dominant seasons ever by a closer.  

 

WAGNER'S NUMBERS COMPARED TO CURRENT HOF RELIEVERS

Statistics for all listed pitchers are as relievers only

SAVES

SAVE PCT.

ERA

1. Wagner - 422

1. Wagner - 85.9%

1. Wagner - 2.31

2. Eckersley - 390

2. Eckersley - 84.6%

2. Wilhelm - 2.50

3. Fingers - 341

3. Fingers - 75.4%

3. Fingers - 2.73

4. Gossage - 310

4. Sutter - 74.8%

4. Gossage - 2.77

5. Sutter - 300

5. Gossage - 73.5%

5. Sutter - 2.83

 

 

6. Eckersley - 2.85

                                                                                  

Opp. BA

WHIP

SO per 9 IP

1. Wagner - .187

1. Wagner - 0.9977

1. Wagner - 11.92

2. Wilhelm - .213

2. Eckersley - 0.9983

2. Eckersley - 8.83

3. Gossage - .221

3. Wilhelm - 1.12

3. Gossage - 7.75

4. Eckersley - .225

4. Fingers - 1.13

4. Sutter - 7.44

5. Sutter - .230

5. Sutter - 1.14

5. Fingers - 7.07

6. Fingers - .232

6. Gossage - 1.20

6. Wilhelm - 6.55

 

Wagner was also a model of consistency, posting an ERA of 2.85 or below in 15 of his 16 seasons, topping that number only once in a season cut short due to an injury (2000). He also had four campaigns with an ERA below 2.00. Wagner reached 40 saves twice and 30 or more saves nine times in his career.

 

In his last Major League season in 2010, Wagner topped off his outstanding career with one of the best final seasons of any pitcher in Major League history, posting a 7-2 record in 71 appearances with 37 saves and 104 strikeouts in just 69.1 innings of work. He also posted a career low 1.43 ERA and an 0.87 WHIP while allowing just 38 hits for a .159 opponents batting average.  

 

OFFENSIVE ERA

 

Making Wagner's dominance even more impressive is that he pitched during an era of record-setting offensive numbers. See below for additional information on Wagner's standout career.

 

BILL JAMES HALL OF FAME MONITOR

 

Wagner registered a score of 107 on the Hall of Fame Monitor scoring system created by Bill James and based on combined career statistics. According to this this system, a score of 100 or above indicates a likely Hall of Fame reliever. 

 

UNIQUE CAREER PATH

 

Wagner has one of the most unique backstories of any successful pitcher in Major League history. He originally threw with his right arm. However, after breaking his right arm twice when he was seven years old while growing up in Virginia, he taught himself to throw with his left arm by throwing a baseball against the wall of a barn.

 

WAGNER BY THE NUMBERS

**Career 11.92 SO/9 IP ratio and .187 opponent batting average are the best of ANY pitcher in ML history (min. 900 IP).

**Career 1.00 WHIP is the best of any southpaw reliever in ML history and second among all relievers to Mariano Rivera (min. 900 IP).

**1,196 career strikeouts are the most ever by a left-handed reliever.

**422 career saves are 5th all time.

**Reached 30 or more saves nine times in his career and 40 or more saves twice.

**Named to seven All-Star teams.

**Posted an ERA under 2.00 in four different seasons.

**Posted an ERA of 2.85 or below in 15 of his 16 ML seasons.

**Posted a WHIP under 0.90 in six seasons and under 1.00 in seven seasons.

**In what was an historic 1999 season, his 14.95 SO/9 IP ratio and .135 opponents batting average both were the best single-season totals in ML history at that time. In his 74.2 innings, he allowed just 35 hits while striking out 124 batters. He also tallied 39 saves in 42 chances with a 1.57 ERA.

**From 1997-99, he posted what were at the time three of the four highest SO/9IP ratios in ML history: 14.38, 14.55 and 14.95, respectively (min. 50 apps).

**Had one of the most dominant final seasons in ML history in 2010. In addition to posting a career-best 1.43 ERA, he also had 37 saves, an 0.87 WHIP and a .159 opponents batting average, allowing just 38 hits in 69.1 innings pitched while striking out 104 batters.

Wagner's Career Statistics

 

W-L

GMS

ERA

SV

SVO

IP

H

BB

SO

Opp BA

SO/9IP

47-40

853

2.31

422

491

903.0

601

300

1196

.187

11.92

 

 

-Astros-