AP
January 02, 2017

Hall of Fame standard: 40.6 Career WAR / 28.2 Peak WAR / 34.4 JAWS
Shantz: 34.8 Career WAR / 25.1 Peak WAR / 29.9 JAWS

Until Mariano Rivera(57.1 career WAR / 28.9 Peak WAR /43.0 JAWS, second among relievers) becomes eligible in 2019, the honor of the highest-ranked eligible reliever belongs not to current ballot-dweller Lee Smith but to Shantz, a sidearm-tossing 5'6" southpaw (pictured above with Phillies Hall of Famer Robin Roberts) who ranks fifth in JAWS at the position, but below the Hall of Fame standard. After some occasional success as a starter for the Philadelphia A’s in the early 1950s—including '52, when he won the AL MVP award after going 24-7 with a 2.48 ERA—Shantz became a standout reliever for the Yankees, Pirates, Astros and Cardinals in the late 1950s and early '60s. Boosted by his time as a starter, his JAWS score is higher than those of Hall of Fame closers Bruce Sutter and Rollie Fingers, but Shantz has never been a real threat to join them in Cooperstown. He never did better than 2.3% in five years on the writers' ballot, the last of which came in 1974.

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