Jake Peavy makes his debut on the Hall of Fame ballot this year. The right-handed starter pitched for 15 years in the majors. While his career was kind of a roller coaster, overall, he put up some pretty solid numbers and had a very good peak. Will it be enough to get him some votes?
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Jacob Edward Peavy was selected out of High School in the 15th round of the 1999 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. He made his debut in 2002 and through 17 starts he held his own with a 4.52 ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning. The following year, even though the longball hurt him, Peavy made 32 starts and pitched 194.2 innings. In 2004, the Alabama native put it all together. Peavy led the league with a 2.27 ERA and struck out 173 in 166.1 innings.
His best season came in 2007 when Peavy won the NL Cy Young Award and the pitching triple crown with 19 wins, a 2.54 ERA, and 240 Ks. He would have another solid season in 2008 for the Padres before they traded him at the deadline in 2009 to the Chicago White Sox. Hurt for much of his next two seasons for Chicago, Peavy had a bounce-back in 2012 striking out 194 in 219 innings with a 3.37 ERA.
The following season he was traded again, this time to the Boston Red Sox. He went on to win a World Series with them in 2013. Peavy would hoist the trophy again the following year with the San Francisco Giants. He went on to pitch two more seasons for San Francisco and pitched his final game out of the bullpen in 2016.
Peavy had a very nice five-year stretch from 2004-2008 for the Padres. He had a 2.95 ERA with a 1.138 WHIP and had 1,010 in 968.2 innings. He won the NL ERA title twice including that dominant year in 2007. Peavy is one of only 16 pitchers ever (min. 2,000 IP) to have 2,200 strikeouts, a 3-to-1 K/BB rate, and a sub-3.75 ERA. All of the others who were eligible have made it into Cooperstown.
We all know wins are a team stat and Peavy played on some bad ones. Still, his 152 victories are extremely low considering guys like Mark Buehrle, Tim Hudson, and Andy Pettitte are alongside him on the ballot and all have over 200. Although WAR is not always a great barometer for pitchers, Peavy’s 39.2 rWAR doesn’t look promising. Finally, we look at his playoff performances and see a horrendous 7.98 ERA and 1.826 WHIP over nine starts.
Peavy had a good peak albeit a short one. He has the hardware with a CYA, a few All-Star appearances, and two rings. The right-hander just wasn’t dominant enough for long enough and didn’t hit the bigger milestones like 200 wins or even 2,500 strikeouts. If Peavy could’ve been a little more consistent and pitched a bit more, he might have gotten more consideration. As it stands, this will be his only year on the ballot.
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