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Assessing Randy Johnson's Hall of Fame candidacy

Not as heralded as a few other pitching nominees, Randy Johnson ought to be a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Don't dig in too much in the batter's box
Don't dig in too much in the batter's box
RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Randy Johnson may have pitched until he was 46 to reach that magical 300 win plateau, but as a first time ballot consideration, he does have the pedigree to reach the Hall of Fame.

The case for Johnson as a Hall of Famer

The aforementioned 300 wins is a good place to start as that seems to be the one thing all BBWAA scribes seem to be in agreement with. It may have taken him 22 years to reach that threshold, but those final seasons weren't awful.

Johnson made ten All-Star squads and was voted the Cy Young five times, including four in a row from 1999 to 2002. He also had four other top 3 finishes. He only led the league in wins once, but did have three 20 win seasons, finishing with 303.

He led the league in ERA four separate times, with three second place finishes. He was first in WHIP three times, including an incredible 0.900 in 2004. He only gave up 7.282 hits per nine innings in his career, good enough for 23rd all time.

But it is the strikeout factor that is most impressive. He led the league in Ks nine times, with two four-peat from 1992 to 1995 and 1999-2002. He is second all-time with 4875 punchouts. That career total also enabled Johnson to finish with the all-time K/9 mark of 10.610.

On the advanced metric side, he has six ERA+ first place finishes and a career number of 135, which is 23rd in MLB history.  He also had six FIP titles. And then there is the bWAR. He nabbed six season WAR titles for pitchers and is ninth all-time at 104.3.

He clears the Black Ink, Gray Ink, Hall of Fame Monitor and Hall of Fame Standards criteria by a wide margin. JAWS has him as the ninth starting pitcher in history (102.1) and with a y year peak of 82.0.

The case against Johnson as a Hall of Famer

His career bases on balls is thirteenth in history, as he led the league three times from 1990 to 1992. He is also eleventh in history with 411 home runs given up. His career FIP is 3.19, which is just 205th overall. He was a pretty poor fielder, tying for the most errors on four different occasions.

My two cents

While Pedro Martinez is a no-doubt Hall of Famer, for some reason, Johnson does not have quite the same aura, even though it could be argued he was almost as dominant as him. Is it because he was left handed? Is it because he was too tall?

Or is because he spent almost his entire career out of the limelight cities in Montreal, Seattle and Phoenix? When the Big Unit was scheduled to pitch, I did not look forward to watching the Tribe try to beat him. He finished with just a 9.5 K/9 mark against Cleveland, but did have a 13-4 record in 26 starts.

If I had a vote, it would be a definite yes.