A recent post looked at the combined WAR for Phillie starting pitchers over the past five years. This post will look how the core of the Phillie rotation, Halladay, Lee and Hamels, compare to other elite pitchers across both leagues in terms of cumulative WAR for pitchers over the past five seasons.

Spoiler alert — they compare really well.

The table below shows pitchers who have 1) made more than 100 starts over the past five seasons and 2) have a Baseball-Reference calculated WAR per game started better than .125:

Pitcher GS # Relief appearances WAR WAR/GS
Roy Halladay 155 1 30.0 .194
Cliff Lee 155 0 28.9 .186
Josh Johnson 115 0 21.0 .183
CC Sabathia 164 0 27.0 .164
Clayton Kershaw 149 2 23.7 .159
Justin Verlander 168 0 26.7 .159
Felix Hernandez 165 0 24.1 .146
Zack Greinke 160 0 23.0 .144
Cole Hamels 160 1 21.4 .134
Jon Lester 161 0 21.1 .131
John Danks 133 0 17.2 .129
Jared Weaver 160 0 20.7 .129
Adam Wainwright 119 0 15.2 .128
Chris Carpenter 103 1 13.0 .126
Matt Cain 165 0 20.8 .126

Again, the table above displays the total WAR accumulated from 2008 through 2012, then divides that total by the number of games that the pitcher started. So pitchers who accumulated WAR in relief appearances get a tiny advantage over pitchers who did not, although the entire group of 15 pitchers in the table above has combined to make just five relief appearances since the start of 2008.

Halladay is the key thing to focus on here and just how good he was from 2008 through 2011. He stays atop the chart despite his miserable 2012.

Here’s what Halladay’s numbers look like if you break them down from 2008-2011 and 2012 separately.

GS # Relief appearances WAR WAR/GS
Halladay 2008-2011 130 1 29.3 .225
Halladay 2012 25 0 0.7 .028
Total 155 1 30.0 .194

So, again, even with the ugly 2012 performance from Halladay, he still finds himself above the chart of elite pitchers at the top of the post.

By WAR, 2010 and 2011 were the best years of Halladay’s career. He spent both of them with the Phillies. In those two seasons, he had a combined Baseball-Reference calculated WAR of 16.8 over 65 starts, which is about .258 per start.

Lee also fares very well on the top table, second only to Halladay. Like Halladay, his 2012 wasn’t as good as his previous four years, although it was a lot better than Halladay’s. Here’s the same chart for Lee, broken up into 2008 through 2011 with an individual entry for 2012:

GS # Relief appearances WAR WAR/GS
Lee 2008-2011 125 0 24.7 .198
Lee 2012 30 0 4.2 .140
Total 155 0 28.9 .186

Like Halladay, Lee’s mark for 2012 was worse than 2008 through 2011, although not nearly as dramatically.

Hamels’s two best years for WAR were 2010 and 2011. His numbers for the last five years combined are dragged down by his ugly 2009 season in which he threw to a 4.32 ERA over 32 starts with an ERA+ of 97, posting a WAR for the year of 1.7.

Here’s how his numbers look if you break them down by ’08 and ’09, ’10 and ’11 and 2012:

GS # Relief appearances WAR WAR/GS
Hamels 2008-2009 65 0 5.7 .088
Hamels 2010-2011 64 1 11.5 .180
Hamels 2012 31 0 4.2 .135
Total 160 1 21.4 .134

So Lee and Hamels were about the same in 2012 in terms of WAR per game started, with Lee having been a lot better over the past four years.

Even if you take out Hamels’s ’09 season, that leaves him at 19.7 WAR over 128 starts in ’08 and ’10 through ’12. That’s about .154 WAR per game started, which is very good, but still not as good as Lee’s 2008 through 2011.

The Reading Phillies (Double-A) are getting a new name, which will be revealed on November 17.