It’s that time of year between the World Series and Hall of Fame voting season when everyone’s giving out awards. The Hall of Stats doesn’t really believe in awards with subjective votes, so I was feeling a bit left out. Then I got an idea.
The Tim Keefe Award
The Tim Keefe Award is named after the 19th century New York Giants and Metropolitans ace pitcher. In 1883, Keefe (perhaps unknowingly) set a single-season record for Hall Rating that has stood for 130 years. That season, Keefe started—and completed—68 games, threw 619 innings, won 41, lost 27, fanned 359, and posted an ERA of 2.41 (an ERA+ of 145). The performance was worth 19.7 WAR. He also hit .220 with nine triples at the plate, adding another 0.3 WAR. The 20.0 total WAR is an all-time single-season record. Even after a big adjustment created to temper the Hall Ratings of 19th century pitchers, Keefe’s performance still leads to a Hall Rating of 37.8. Walter Johnson’s 1913 season (36.1 Hall Rating) ranks second.
This season, Mike Trout’s Hall Rating of 20.4 paced all Major League players. Therefore, he’s the winner of the Tim Keefe Award! Carlos Gomez finished second (18.9), Clayton Kershaw finished third (18.3), and Andrew McCutchen finished fourth (18.2).
If we were going to give out traditional awards based on Hall Rating, I suppose that means Trout would be the AL MVP, Gomez would take NL MVP, and Kershaw would be the NL Cy Young Award winner. In the AL, the Cy Young Award winner would be Hisashi Iwakuma (15.1, just ahead of Chris Sale’s 15.0). The rookie leaders would be Jose Fernandez in the NL (14.5) and David Lough (just 5.3) in the AL.
The Ed Mincher Award
On the other side of the spectrum, we have the player who hurt his Hall Rating the most in 2013. This award is named for Ed Mincher. Mincher’s 1872 Washington Nationals played just 11 games (going 0–11) before disbanding. Mincher contributed a team-worst –0.8 WAR (remember, in only 11 games). Because we pro-rate short seasons, that leads to a Hall Rating of –5.7. The 20th century record for lowest Hall Rating in a single season is Jim Levey’s 1933 season with the St. Louis Browns (–3.8).
This year’s Mincher Award “winner” is Barry Zito. Zito trimmed 2.5 Hall Rating points off an already-impressive total. Zito had a 58 Hall Rating when he left Oakland after 2006. Through 2010, he crept up to 65. Since then, he’s dropped down to 62.
Congratulations to Mike Trout, our Tim Keefe Award winner for 2013. Remember this, though—Hall Rating is a formula that’s constantly changing as the underlying data improves. So, someday Tim Keefe may not hold the all-time record. If that happens, we’ll change the name of the award. And if Trout is no longer the 2013 leader after future adjustments, we’ll just retroactively award it to someone else. That’s the way we do things—everything is based on the best data available today.
Also remember, all of our data is available to freely download if you’d like to look into anything yourself.