Thursday, August 26, 2010

More great seasons from young pitchers

3.00 ERA or lower, 4+ SO/BB, 10+ Starts, 22 years old or younger (1900-2010)
1910 Walter Johnson (Senators) 1.36 ERA, 4.12 SO/BB, 42 GS
1966 Don Sutton (Dodgers) 2.99, 4.02, 35
1985 Bret Saberhagen (Royals) 2.87, 4.16, 32
2003 Mark Prior (Cubs) 2.43, 4.90, 30
2006 Francisco Liriano (Twins) 2.16, 4.50, 16
2010 Stephen Strasburg (Nationals) 2.91, 5.41, 12
2010 Brett Anderson (A's) 2.86, 4.70, 11

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Top 5: ERA and Runs

Top 5 in Runs and ERA by month (2010)
April - Rays: #1 R (144), #2 ERA (3.13) 17-6
June - Rangers: #1 R, #2 ERA (3.40) 21-6
July - Giants: #2 R (149), #5 ERA (3.41) 20-8
July - White Sox: # 5 R (140), #1 ERA (2.94) 18-8
August - Reds: # 5 R (90) , #3 ERA (2.96) 13-4

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mat Latos, Trevor Cahill, Dutch Leonard

100+ IP, 2.75 ERA or lower, 1.00 WHIP or lower, 22 years or younger (1910-2010)
1910 Walter Johnson (Senators): 370 IP, 1.36 ERA, .91 WHIP
1914 Dutch Leonard: (Red Sox) 224.2, 0.96, .88
1943 Howie Pollet (Cardinals): 118.1, 1.75, .97
1971 Vida Blue (A's): 312, 1.82, .95
1973 Frank Tanana (Angels): 288.1, 2.43, .99
1985 Dwight Gooden (Mets): 276.2, 1.53, .97
2006 Francisco Liriano (Twins): 121, 2.16, 1.00
2010 Mat Latos (Padres): 135.2, 2.32, .99
2010 Trevor Cahill (A's): 140.2, 2.50, .98

Dutch Leonard's 1914 season was one of the greatest of all time.  He started 25 games (17 complete games) and finished with an ERA of .96.  The only other pitchers in ML history to have more than 7 starts in a season and finish with an ERA under 1.10 were Mordecai Brown in 1906 (32 starts, 1.04 ERA) and Freddie Schupp in 1916 (11 starts, .90 ERA).  The Red Sox finished 2nd in the AL, and Leonard finished 16th in MVP voting (best of any pitcher).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Losing despite scoring 17+ runs

Teams who lost despite scoring 17 runs (since 1920)
1922: Cubs (defeated Phillies) 26-23
1932: A's (defeated Indians) 18-17 (18 Inn.)
1969: Reds (defeated Phillies) 19-17
1979: Phillies (defeated Cubs) 23-22 (10 Inn.)
2008: Rockies (defeated Marlins) 18-17
2008: Red Sox (defeated Rangers) 19-17

Monday, August 16, 2010

1st Overall Pick - Pitchers

#1 Overall Pick - Pitcher
1973 David Clyde
1976 Floyd Bannister
1981 Mike Moore
1983 Tim Belcher
1988 Andy Benes
1989 Ben McDonald
1991 Brien Taylor
1994 Paul Wilson
1996 Kris Benson
1997 Matt Anderson
2002 Bryan Bullington
2006 Luke Hochevar
2007 David Price
2009 Stephen Strasburg

The only two drafted straight out of high school were David Clyde and Brien Taylor.  Brien Taylor (1991) is the only pitcher from the #1 picks to never make the majors, with Steve Chilcott (1966) the only position player (Matt Bush, from 2004, drafted as a shortstop but now a pitcher, and Tim Beckham, a shortstop from 2008, still haven't made it either).

To date, none are Hall of Famers or even Cy Young Award winners (kind of amazing, although David Price could end that this year, and Stephen Strasburg will probably follow soon).  Although several came out of the gate strong (such as Ben McDonald and Tim Belcher), the pitcher that had the best final numbers was probably Andy Benes (155-139, 3.97 ERA). 

Teams have have much better success with position players at #1 (Harold Baines, Darryl Strawberry, Chipper Jones, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Darin Erstad, Pat Burrell, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Gonzalez, Joe Mauer).  If you have the first pick and Stephen Strasburg or David Price is there, you probably have to take him. 

It's not always cut and dry (ask the Padres, who took Matt Bush in 2004 with Justin Verlander going at #2 to the Tigers), but most of the time it's not a good gamble.  I swear I heard on ESPN in 2002 that the Pirates thought Bryan Bullington (who just got his first career win, congrats) would be a middle of the rotation starter, yet still took him at #1.  The last two are on their way to great careers, but it's probably more of a fluke than a trend, and pitchers are still usually a bad bet at #1.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Starters with High Winning Percentages

180+ wins, .640+ W-L% (pitchers who started career in 1900 or later)
Randy Johnson
Roger Clemens
Pedro Martinez
Christy Mathewson
Lefty Grove
Pete Alexander
Whitey Ford
Lefty Gomez
Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown

Active pitchers: 140 W, .620 W-L%:
Andy Pettitte: 240 wins, .637 W-L%
Roy Halladay: 163, .660
Tim Hudson: 162, .661
C.C. Sabathia: 151, .637
Roy Oswalt: 144, .634

6 of the pitchers on the top list are in the Hall of Fame, with Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens still a few years away from eligibility.  8 of the 9 pitchers won at least 219 games, but Lefty Gomez won only 189 and still made the Hall of Fame (Veteran's Committee, 1972). 

None of the 5 active pitchers are locks for the Hall of Fame yet.  Pettitte's career ERA is almost 4.00 and he admitted to using HGH.  Halladay is clearly one of the best pitchers of his generation, and is seen as a throw back, which will probably help.  The problem is that he's already 33 and only has 163 wins. 

Voters have been reluctant to elect starting pitchers who failed to reach 300 wins, but that view will have to change eventually as fewer star pitchers even get close to that number. 

Tim Hudson had a great start to his career, but hasn't received a Cy Young vote since 2003 and it already 35.  He will finish with excellent numbers, but isn't a Hall of Famer.  Sabathia is only 30 and should win a lot of games pitching for the Yankees, and should have many chances for postseason glory.  We'll have to check back on him in a few years, but he has a shot. 

As for Oswalt, there have been rumors of early retirement for years, so it's hard to see him hanging around long enough to reach 200 wins.  He also hasn't been the same since 2005 or 2006, although he was very good until 2008.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The new and improved Baltimore Orioles under Buck Showalter

The Orioles are 9-2 in August, and 8-1 since Buck Showalter took over on August 3rd (they lost on August 1 by a score of 5-4 in Juan Samuel's last game).

Offense (Runs)
April: 75 (29th)
May: 100 (27th)
June: 98 (25th)
July: 102 (21st)
August: 52 (5th)

Pitching (ERA)
April: 4.62 (23rd)
May: 4.68 (T-24th)
June: 5.72 (30th)
July: 5.60 (29th)
August: 3.56 (T-12th)

A lot of players on the roster are having good months (Luke Scott, Brian Roberts, Ty Wigginton, Adam Jones), but one of the most encouraging signs has to be the Felix Pie is playing well. 

Pie was a top prospect about 4 years ago, and was supposed to be a 5-tool player, but it hasn't worked out yet.  He started off well this year by winning the starting left field position with a strong spring, but he went on the 60 day DL in April and didn't come back until April. 

He had a weak July (.222 BA, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 72 AB), but has turned it on in August (.350 BA, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 40 AB), having one of the best months of his career (not that there's that much competition; he was excellent in August 2009).  He also also good in April before he went on the DL (.400 BA in 20 AB).  If he's finally coming into his own, the Orioles could be set in left field for a while.   With Adam Jones, Felix Pie and Nick Markakis, they could have a solid outfield for years to come. 

The Orioles are still going to finish dead last in the AL East, but who would have thought they could go 8-1 under any manager?  Standing in the way of them making huge improvements over the next few years is the unbalanced schedule and the fact that the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays are in their division.  For the time being, I'm sure they'll settle for taking a shot at .500 (which they haven't been over since 1997).

Monday, August 9, 2010

Josh Johnson

150+ IP, sub-2.00 ERA, 9.0+ SO/9 (Since 1900)
1964 Sandy Koufax (Dodgers)
1968 Luis Tiant (Indians)
1968 "Sudden" Sam McDowell (Indians)
1971 Tom Seaver (Mets)
1986 Mark Eichhorn (Blue Jays)
1997, 2000 Pedro Martinez (Expos, Red Sox)
2010 Josh Johnson (Marlins) 155 IP, 1.97 ERA, 9.06 SO/9

Surprisingly, the only pitcher on the list to win the Cy Young award in one of these seasons was Pedro Martinez, in both 1997 and 2000.  Tom Seaver came in 2nd in 1971, Denny McLain got all the votes in 1968, and Dean Chance took the only Cy Young Award in 1964.

Eichhorn's season was interesting in several ways.  It was his rookie season, and he finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year balloting and 6th in Cy Young Balloting despite not making a start and having only 10 saves.  It is (and probably always will be) the only season in ML history where a pitcher tossed over 150 innings, made 0 starts but did not have over 10 saves (he had 10). 

There were nine other seasons from 1950 (Jim Konstanty's Cy Young season) to 1986 (including two by Mike Marshall) that had a pitcher toss over 150 innings, have 0 starts, but they all had more than 10 saves (Eichhorn had the only one of the bunch, though, with over 9 SO/9).

Josh Johnson currently has an ERA of 1.97, so he's one bad inning from going over 2.00.  Even if you take the ERA out to 2.20, these are the only additional names added:

Sandy Koufax 1965
Sam McDowell 1965
Pedro Martinez 1999
Roger Clemens 1997
Zack Greinke 2009  

Friday, August 6, 2010

Jose Bautista: The Unlikely ML HR Leader

Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista is leading the ML in HR right now, with 33.  He is on pace to hit near 50, but could easily end up leading the league with less than 45.  Considering that he entered the season with 59 career home runs (and a career high of 16 in 2006) over 2000 PA, he would be the unlikeliest player to lead the majors in home runs since Cecil Fielder in 1990 (at least Adrian Beltre had hit over 20 in 2003), and that was because Fielder had been playing in Japan.

Bautista (still identified on wikipedia as a "utility player") has been traded for a player to be named later (in 2008; the player to be named later ended up being Robinzon Diaz), been drafted in a rule 5 draft (in 2003, by the Orioles), selected off waivers (2004) and been traded twice in one day (2004). 

From 1955-1976, the only years where the HR leader wasn't an eventual Hall of Famer were 1961 (Roger Maris) and 1968 (Frank Howard).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mat Latos is having an historic season

After a slow start (6.20 ERA through April), Mat Latos (Padres) is currently the only pitcher in the entire league with a WHIP below 1.00, an ERA under 2.50 and more than 100 innings pitched.  He is in his first full season as a starter in the ML and is only 22 years old, not too bad for an 11th round pick in 2006. 

He has also been the Padres (leading the NL West and best team ERA in ML) best starter, and could easily be a Cy Young contender for years to come.

Mat Latos (2010)
Overall: 11-5, 2.47 ERA, .995 WHIP, 119 SO, 35 BB
April: 1-2, 6.20 ERA, 1.49 WHIP
May-present: 10-3, 1.74 ERA, .90 WHIP

2.50 ERA or lower, 1.00 WHIP or lower, 123+ IP (by age 23, since 1910)
1910 Walter Johnson (Senators, 22)
1914 Ernie Shore (Red Sox, 23)
1914 Dutch Leonard (Red Sox, 21)
1968 Tom Seaver (Mets, 23)
1971 Vida Blue (A's, 21)
1976 Frank Tanana (Angels, 22)
1985 Dwight Gooden (Mets, 20)
1986 Roger Clemens (Red Sox, 23)
2010 Mat Latos (Padres, 22)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Batting Champs

40+ Points between Batting Champs

1901, 1905, 1910-11, 1913, 1915-19

1920 - present (AL 5 - NL 2)
1924: +46 (.424 v. .378) Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth
1931: 42 (.390 v. .349) Al Simmons, Chick Hafey
1941: 63 (.406 v. .343) Ted Williams, Pete Reiser
1945: 46 (.355 v. .309) Phil Cavarretta, Stuffy Stirnweiss
1977: 50 (.388 v .338) Rod Carew, Bill Madlock
1980: 66 (.390 v. .324) George Brett, Bill Buckner
1988: 53 (.366 v. .313) Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn
2010: 40 (.362 v. .322) Josh Hamilton, Joey Votto

35-39+ since 1920 (AL 4 - NL 4):
1983: +38 (.361 v. .323) Wade Boggs, Bill Madlock
1920: 37 (.407 vs. .370) George Sisler, Rogers Hornsby
1970: 37 (.366 v. .329) Rico Carty, Alex Johnson
1957: 37 (.388 v. .351) Ted Williams, Stan Musial
2008: 36 (.364 v. .328) Chipper Jones, Joe Mauer
1939: 36 (.381 v. .349) Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Mize
1935: 36 (.385 v. .349) Arky Vaughan, Buddy Myer
1994: 35 (.394 v. .359) Tony Gwynn, Paul O'Neill

Monday, August 2, 2010

Carlos Marmol's Historic Strikeout Totals

I first noticed this in May, and Carlos Marmol is still at it, although his strikeouts are down from a lofty 17.47 SO/9 to a more pedestrian 16.78 SO/9.

14.95+ SO/9, 10+ IP (1900-2010)
1999 Billy Wagner (Astros) 74.2 IP, 14.95 SO/9
2003 Eric Gagne (Dodgers) 82.1, 14.98
1999 Jeff Sparks (Devil Rays) 10, 15.30
2002 Kane Davis (Mets) 14, 15.43
2010 Carlos Marmol (Cubs) 49.1, 16.78

No pitcher has ever finished a season with more than 16.5 strikeouts per 9 innings in more than 6 innings.  The only two pitchers in ML history to finish with 5+ IP and more than 16.78 SO/9 are:

2002 Francisco Rodriguez (Angels) 5.2 IP, 20.65 SO/9

2005 Hong Chih-Kuo (Dodgers) 5.1, 16.88
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