The 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot has been released to the Baseball Writers of America Association, and as expected, it has created an ample amount of debate among those voting and those not. That was not difficult to imagine as this is the first true test of voter fortitude in regards to steroid era players, with the ballot featuring the likes of first time nominees Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mike Piazza.
But outside of the debate regarding the eligibility of those players, the ballot is also significant for Toronto Blue Jays fans, as there are four former Jays that are appearing on the ballot this year. In this series, I will examine the case that each of these players have for their induction into the Hall of Fame and then make a determination if they truly belong enshrined in Cooperstown.
David Wells – Left Handed Pitcher
Years on Ballot: 1
Years with Blue Jays: 8 (1987-1992, 1999-2000)
David Wells enjoyed a solid, 21-year career in Major League Baseball, throwing for nine different teams during that time. Like Jack Morris, whose candidacy we reviewed earlier this week, Wells is at best a borderline candidate, falling short of many of the benchmarks of a Hall of Fame pitcher. It is a sheer testament to his longevity that he receives any consideration at all, but consideration we will give him.
Case for election:
239 Career Wins
1.9 Career BB/9 Ratio
3 All-Star Appearances
2 Top-3 Cy Young Finishes
1998 ALCS MVP
61.2 Cumulative fWAR
10-5 record and 3.17 ERA in postseason play
(Pouring on the sarcasm here) It says a lot for a man’s Hall of Fame credentials when his two major credentials for his election were his walk rate and his win total. Considering that his win total ranks him 57th all-time and his walk rate ranks him 68th all-time, perhaps that is not as much to write home about as one would hope, especially when one is being considered for enshrinement into Cooperstown. However, Wells did perform admirably in postseason play and may merit a few votes in 2013.
Case Against Election:
4.13 Career ERA
4.12 Career xFIP
5.8 Career SO/9 Ratio
2201 Career Strike-outs
407 Career Home Runs Surrendered
Wells had his share of good years, but he was always a pitcher that benefited from playing for some solid offensive clubs. His low pitch counts allowed him to gut out more wins than he was likely entitled to, and which is why win totals are not a good gauge to determine a pitcher’s career on. The fact is that Wells was a serviceable guy, but not one you built your rotation around.
David Wells will merit a few votes in this year’s election, and may get the 5% needed in order to stay on the ballot for another year, but he will never see enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. That is because if he makes it past this vote and onto next year’s ballot, he will be overshadowed by pitchers that far more fit the characteristic of a Hall of Famer, when Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine get their first crack and borderline guys like Mike Mussina present a better case.
Wells will just have to visit like the rest of us.