There are shocks, there are absolute surprises, and then there are one-in-a-million shots-in-the-dark-type of events. Billy Wagner not being selected for the 2016 Baseball Hall of Fame class is none of these. No one of any prognostication skill thought Wagner would be selected this year, but one day he should be.
Billy Wagner holds up very favorably to Trevor Hoffman. Hoffman, it appears, will be voted into either the 2017 or 2018 Hall of Fame class; he appeared on 67.3% of ballots. Hoffman, during his illustrious career, tallied a 2.87 ERA and a 1.058 WHIP. Wagner slots better in both categories, with a 2.31 ERA and a 0.998 WHIP. The advanced stats look even more kindly on Wagner when compared to Hoffman. Wagner’s ERA+ is phenomenal. ERA+ is an adjusted ERA stat that takes into account the player’s league and ballpark, with 100 being the league average, and Wagner clocks in at 187. Hoffman’s 147 looks paltry in contrast.
Hoffman was an extraordinary closer and this article wasn’t an indictment on his inevitable enshrinement. Hoffman has over 150 more saves than Wagner and pitched over 100 more innings, so his appearance on more ballots than Wagner is no surprise — Wagner appeared on 10.5 percent of ballots. I was merely using a future Hall of Famer to make an argument for a man who should also be in the Hall. The full-time closer role is a fairly new type of player for the voters to consider. Lets only hope the voters recognize Wagner’s worthiness for immortality before the 10-year window is up.
And for your viewing pleasure, here are some Wagner highlights.